Society of African Journal Editors

Journal for Juridical Science

Case Notes: Wary Holdings (Pty) Ltd v Stalwo (Pty) Ltd & Another (Trustees of the Hoogekraal Highlands Trust & SAFAMCO Enterprises (Pty) Ltd (amicus curiae); Minister of Agriculture & Land Affairs (intervening)) [2008] JOL 22099 (CC)

Authors: NJJ Olivier, C Williams

Journal: Journal for Juridical Science

In terms of the Subdivision of Agricultural Land Act 70 of 1970, the (national) Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has to authorise, in writing, every application for the subdivision of agricultural land. The following proviso was added to the definition of ‘agricultural land’ in the Act in 1995: “Provided that land situated in the area of jurisdiction of a transitional council as defined in section 1 of the Local Government Transition Act, 1993 (Act No. 209 of 1993), which immediately prior to the first election of the members of such transitional council was classified as agricultural land, shall remain classified as such.” The question that arose in this case was whether the proviso only existed during the lifetime of transitional councils. An affirmative answer to the above question would result in the de facto and de jure implicit termination (and disappearance) of agricultural land as a category in South African law and, consequently, of the Minister’s power to approve any subdivision of agricultural land. A negative answer would imply that agricultural land remains as a category, that the provisions of SALA need to be complied with, and that the Minister’s written approval needs to be obtained for each and every application for subdivision of agricultural land. This article contends that the Constitutional Court was correct in finding that the proviso (and the Act ) is still applicable today. Ingevolge die Wet op die Onderverdeling van Landbougrond 70 van 1970 moet die (nasionale) Minister van Landbou, Bosbou en Visserye alle aansoeke vir die onderverdeling van landbougrond skriftelik goedkeur. Die volgende voorbehoudsbepaling is tot die definsie van “landbougrond” in die Wet in 1995 gevoeg: “Met dien verstande dat grond geleë in die regsgebied van ’n oorgangsraad soos omskryf in artikel 1 van die Oorgangswet op Plaaslike Regering, 1993 (Wet 209 van 1993), wat onmiddellik voor die eerste verkiesing van die lede van so ’n oorgangsraad as landbougrond geklassifiseer was, as sodanig geklassifiseer bly”. Die vraag wat in hierdie saak beslis moes word, is of die voorbehoudsbepaling slegs tydens die bestaan van die oorgangsrade gegeld het. ’n Bevestigende antwoord sou die de facto en de jure geïmpliseerde beëindiging (en verdwyning) van landbougrond as ’n kategorie in die Suid-Afrikaanse reg en, gevolglik, van die Minister se mag om die onderverdeling daarvan goed te keur, tot gevolg hê. ’n Negatiewe antwoord sou impliseer dat landbougrond as ’n kategorie bly voortbestaan, dat daar aan die bepalings van die Wet voldoen moet word, en dat die Minister se skriftelike toestemming steeds vereis word vir elke aansoek vir die onderverdeling van landbougrond. Hierdie artikel doen aan die hand dat die Konstitusionele Hof die korrekte beslissing gemaak het deur te bevind dat die voorbehoudsbepaling (en die Wet ) steeds vandag van toepassing is.