Many irresponsible statements regarding expropriation without compensation have been made recently, also by senior politicians. The truth, however, is that our Constitution does not make provision for expropriation without compensation.
Section 25 of the Constitution requires just and equitable compensation to be paid in the event of expropriation. However, deprivation without compensation is permissible. Expropriation is a type of deprivation. The moment that state action is defined as expropriation, compensation becomes payable.
In many countries of the world compensation is also payable for constructive expropriation, i.e. where the state does not acquire the property, but the owner’s rights are undermined in such a way that the value of the property is reduced or the owner loses rights in respect thereof.
Any deprivation of property without compensation constitutes a very serious breach of an individual’s rights. Property rights are a fundamental human right that is recognised as such by most international human rights conventions.
As long as section 25 remains in the Constitution, expropriation without compensation is not possible. Just and equitable compensation is payable in the event of expropriation.
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