n Annual Survey of South African Law - Constitutional property law

Volume 2011, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0376-4605



In constitutional property law, questions about the validity of regulatory control over the use and exploitation of property are decided with reference to the deprivation provision in section 25(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, as interpreted in 2002 (4) SA 768 (CC)). The general policing power or regulatory principle adopted in this decision means that state regulation of the use and exploitation of property (such as land use planning, regulatory control over the development of or building on land, and conservation of the environment) is regarded as a legitimate exercise of state regulatory power that does not require compensation. Accordingly, regulatory deprivation of property is constitutionally unassailable, without compensation, even when it causes loss of value for the property holder, provided the regulatory action was properly authorized, administrative justice principles were adhered to and the effects of the regulatory action are not arbitrary, excessive or disproportionately unfair (see the cases discussed in AJ van der Walt 3 ed (2011) 213-18; more recent case law is discussed below).

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