11 June 2018

South Africa: Dispossession Without Compensation the Legacy for Poor Rural Communities


While the nation debates the amendment of the Constitution to provide explicitly for expropriation without compensation, the Constitutional Court is preparing to rule on the rights of poor black communities in mineral-rich former homelands who are routinely dispossessed without consultation, compensation or even formal expropriation.

Poor communities in mineral-rich former homelands are dispossessed through the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act of 2002 (MPRDA), which has been interpreted to privilege mining over the protection of surface rights guaranteed in the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act of 1996 (IPILRA).

The dispossession of black surface rights to land in mining-affected areas was aired in the Constitutional Court on the 24 May in an appeal against an eviction order granted by the North West High Court in respect of members of the Lesetlheng Village Community. Lesetlheng is a village within the Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela traditional community headed...

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