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oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - Die betekenis van 'n ontneming weens 'n rasdiskriminerende wet of praktyk vir doeleindes van die Wet op Herstel van Grondregte 22 van 1994 - 'n oorsig van ontwikkelings in regspraak : regte

 

Abstract

Persone of gemeenskappe kwalifiseer vir restitusie indien hul ontneem is van 'n reg in grond na 19 Junie 1913 as gevolg van 'n rasdiskriminerende wet of praktyk. Die Wet op Herstel van Grondregte 22 van 1994 verskaf nie werklik duidelikheid oor wat onder "as gevolg van 'n rasdiskriminerende wet of praktyk" verstaan word nie. Gevolglik is dit die taak van die howe om die relevante frase te interpreteer en op bepaalde feite toe te pas. Die frase is 'n belangrike deel van die regsvereistes alvorens 'n grondeis suksesvol kan wees. Aan die een kant beteken dit dat nie sommer enige ontneming vir restitusie kwalifiseer nie. Aan die ander kant is dit algemeen bekend dat die hele Suid-Afrikaanse grondbeheerstelsel voor 1991 in beginsel op 'n rassebasis gefunksioneer het. Wat presies word dus onder hierdie frase verstaan?


Die doel van hierdie bydrae is om aan die hand van regspraak bepaalde benaderings (of toetse) te identifiseer en te bepaal of 'n spesifieke benadering 'n bepaalde resultaat sou bewerkstellig. Die uitgangspunt is dat die Restitusiewet, omdat dit uit hoofde van die Grondwet (artikel 25(7)) uitgevaardig is, ook 'n doelmatige interpretasiebenadering vereis. In hierdie proses is egter oor die jare drie verskillende benaderings (of toetse) in drie toonaangewende hofbeslissings ontwikkel. 'n Uiteensetting van die verskillende benaderings en 'n vergelyking daarvan dui aan dat die resultate inderdaad verskil, afhangende van die benadering wat gevolg word. Nadat die huidige (jongste) benadering van die -uitspraak (konstitusionele hof) bespreek is, word die mees onlangse beslissing, , waarin die optrede van staatsamptenare ter sprake was, in die lig van dié benadering ontleed. Die slotsom is dat hoewel duidelikheid ten aansien van die algemene doelmatige benadering tot interpretasie verkry is, die oorsaaklikheidskwessie moontlik nog steeds problematies kan wees.


From 19 June 1913 South Africa's land control system was racially based, resulting in the acquisition and exercise of land rights being linked to and determined by the specific racial background of the individual or community concerned. In this racially based process, thousands of legislative measures were promulgated over a period of roughly 80 years resulting in millions of people being uprooted and dispossessed of land rights. The interim Constitution provided for a restitution act (section 121), a commission (section 122) and the land claims court (LCC) (section 123). Following the inauguration of the new political dispensation, the Restitution of Land Rights Act 22 of 1994 was one of the first legislative measures to be promulgated.
The final Constitution provided for an all-encompassing land reform programme, embodying restitution (section 25(7)), redistribution (section 25(5)) and tenure reform (section 25(6)). In order to be successful with a land claim, two sets of requirements are relevant: (a) a formal set and (b) the legal requirements. The formal set requires that no just and equitable compensation had already been paid and contains a cut-off date. The legal requirements entail that the applicant(s) must have been dispossessed of a right in land after 19 June 1913 as a result of racially discriminatory laws or practices. Unfortunately the Restitution Act in itself is not really helpful in clarifying "as a result of racially discriminatory laws or practices". Accordingly, the task of interpreting and finally applying the relevant phrase rested upon the courts. Exactly how the courts approached and interpreted the relevant phrase is the main focus of this contribution.
Over the years three distinctive approaches (or tests) were developed to clarify what would constitute a dispossession resulting from racially discriminatory laws and practices. The first test was developed in 1999 4 BCLR 413 (LCC) following a purposive interpretation approach linked to a three-question test. The latter entailed (a) whether the particular law or measure was racially discriminatory; (b) whether the particular conduct was a racially discriminatory practice; and (c) whether the actual dispossession was a result of (a) or (b) above. land belonging to so-called coloured land owners was dispossessed under the 1950 Group Areas Act to build a school for coloured children. This test entailed that the relevant law or practice would be a racially discriminatory law or practice if all of the three questions were answered in the affirmative. Though a purposive approach was followed, the end result was rather rigid. This was specifically streamlined in this fashion so as to prevent a floodgate of claims as the court argued that, formerly, the whole of South Africa essentially functioned on a racially discriminatory basis. Therefore some kind of additional restriction was required. The LCC was satisfied that the dispossession of the land here was not the result of racially discriminatory laws or practices. Instead, discrimination was linked to education and aimed at school children and was neither linked with the exercise of land rights nor aimed at creating spatial racial segregation.

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/content/litnet/9/3/EJC129833
2012-12-01
2016-12-05
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