The Parliament of South Africa has agreed to amend the Constitution of the country in order to make it explicit that it is possible to expropriate land without paying compensation in order to further land reforms. The supporters of this move - the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – argue that this is necessary to speed up land reforms in order to overcome the continuing extreme and still largely racially defined inequalities in land ownership.
Over the past year, during my work in western Uganda, I have had the opportunity to get to know Paolyel Onencan. Paolyel is the Executive Director of Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organisation (BIRUDO). Paolyel and his BIRUDO colleagues are doing good work around Uganda’s oil and gas development in the Albertine Graben, by helping families get better deals on compensation from the oil companies (Total and China National Offshore Oil Company) working in the region.
Montenegro is preparing another millennial nationalization, as land grabbing becomes a country’s law, with 293 million square metres of seacoast territories to be seized. Private property is being treated as a money machine, leaving owners deprived.
The failure to secure the property rights of rural communities shows a clear policy gap between citizens and rights to land as per the Constitution and the attitude and practices of the state, traditional leaders, white farmers and mining companies in relation to such rights.
The artisanal mining sector in West and Central Africa is a rapidly expanding economic force employing millions of young people, often those who are the most vulnerable. Numerous ancillary informal economies are associated with the export of what are commonly known as “conflict minerals” such as diamonds, gold and coltan. Women grow crops and process food for the labor force of young men digging deep into the ground to pull out the ore and precious metals and stones.
Until now, a comprehensive study of national-level expropriation, compensation, and resettlement procedures in 50 countries across has not been conducted. My PhD research project, facilitated by the University of Groningen Faculty of Law, aims to bridge this gap by providing a broad comparative analysis of nation legal frameworks in 50 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America to determine whether legal procedures in these countries adopt internationally recognized standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement.
From November 28 to December 23, 2016, Land Portal hosted a successful Land Debate on land valuation and fair compensation. The debate focused on the question of what is fair compensation for land in cases of land tenure changes (e.g. expropriations and voluntary land transfers), and what measures are sufficient to ensure the livelihoods of affected landholders are restored.
The Rethinking Expropriation Law initiative hosted a Conference on Compensation for Expropriation in Cape Town, South Africa on December 7-9, 2016. The final session of the Conference took place on December 9 and aimed at discussing the development of a protocol on fair compensation.
For the final session in Cape Town, scholars, judges, activists, and government officials from around the world sat together to provide input on what guidance and principles should be included in the protocol on fair compensation.
SESSION 4: FACTORS OF COMPENSATION; VALUE OF LAND
Dr Shai Stern (Dr. Shai Stern (Professor of Law, Bar-Ilan University)
Restoring Justice in Expropriation Law
- There is general agreement on the concept of fair or just market value for compensation, yet this concept is based on different ideas of justice
- A Restorative conception of justice provides a coherent and circumstances’ attentive normative framework to address the most significant challenges related to compensation
- Keynote speaker: Professor Hanoch Dagan (Tel-Aviv University):
- Professor Dagan dedicated keynote address to Professor Dr. Van Der Walt, South African professor and renowned property law scholar, who passed away in November 2016
- Professor Dagan's speech discussed the bridges between expropriation law and regulatory takings law.
- A few of the key takeaways from Professor Dagan’s compelling speech:
Today Land Portal is launching a new qualitative dataset and infographic which shows how national laws measure up against the international standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement as established in Section 16 of the UN Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGTs).