The meaning of public purpose and public interest in Section 25 of the Constitution

Nginase, Xolisa Human (2009-12)

Thesis (LLM (Mercantile Law))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis discusses the meaning of public purpose and public interest in s 25 of the Final Constitution. The main question that is asked is: how does ‘public purpose’ differ from ‘public interest’, and what impact did the Final Constitution have on the interpretation and application of the public purpose requirement in expropriation law in South Africa? This question is investigated by looking at how the courts have dealt with the public purpose requirement, both before and during the first years of the constitutional era in South African law, and also with reference to foreign law. The thesis shows that the position has not changed that much yet because the interpretation of this requirement has not received much attention in constitutional case law. The main focus is to show that the reason for the interpretation problems surrounding this requirement is the apparent conflict between the formulation of the public purpose requirement in the Final Constitution and in the current Expropriation Act of 1975. It is pointed out that the efforts that were made to resolve the problem failed because the Expropriation Bill 2008 was withdrawn. Consequently, it is still unclear how the public purpose requirement has been changed by s 25(2) of the Constitution, which authorises expropriation for a public purpose or in the public interest. This apparent lack of clarity is discussed and analysed with specific reference to the different types of third party transfers that are possible in expropriation law. Comparative case law from Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Convention on Human Rights is considered to show how other jurisdictions deal with the public purpose requirement in their own constitutions or expropriation legislation, with particular emphasis on how they solve problems surrounding third party transfers. In the final chapter it is proposed that the Expropriation Bill should be reintroduced to bring the formulation of the public purpose requirement in the Act in line with s 25(2) and that expropriation for transfer to third parties could be in order if it serves a legitimate public purpose or the public interest (e g because the third party provides a public utility or for land reform), but that expropriation for economic development should be reviewed strictly to ensure that it serves a more direct and clear public interest than just stimulating the economy or creating jobs.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis bespreek die betekenis van openbare doel en openbare belang in a 25 van die Finale Grondwet. Die belangrikste vraag is: hoe verskil ‘openbare doel’ van ‘openbare belang’, en watter impak het die Finale Grondwet op die interpretasie en toepassing van die openbare doel-vereiste in die Suid-Afrikaanse onteieningsreg gehad? Die vraag word ondersoek met verwysing na die howe se hantering van die openbare doel-vereiste voor en gedurende die eerste jare van die nuwe grondwetlike bedeling, asook met verwysing na buitelandse reg. Die tesis toon aan dat die posisie nog min verander het omdat die interpretasie van die vereiste in die grondwetlike regspraak nog nie veel aandag gekry het nie. Daar word aangetoon dat interpretasieprobleme rondom hierdie vereiste ontstaan as gevolg van die oënskynlike teenstrydigheid tussen die formulering van die openbare doel-vereiste in die Finale Grondwet en in die huidige Onteieningswet van 1975. Daar word geargumenteer dat pogings om die probleem op te los gefaal het omdat die Onteieningswetsontwerp 2008 teruggetrek is. Dit is daarom steeds onduidelik hoe die openbare doel-vereiste deur a 25(2) van die Grondwet, wat onteiening vir ‘n openbare doel of in die openbare belang toelaat, verander is. Hierdie oënskynlike gebrek aan sekerheid word bespreek met verwysing na die verskillende gevalle waarin eiendom onteien en dan aan derde partye oorgedra word. Regsvergelykende regspraak van Australië, Duitsland, die Verenigde Koninkryk, die Verenigde State van Amerika en die Europese Konvensie op Mensregte word oorweeg om te wys hoe ander regstelsels die openbare doel-vereiste in hulle grondwette of onteieningswetgewing interpreteer, spesifiek ten aansien van die oordrag van eiendom aan derde partye. In die laaste hoofstuk word aan die hand gedoen dat die Onteieningswetsontwerp weer ter tafel geneem moet word om die bewoording van die openbare doel-vereiste in die Onteieningswet in ooreenstemming met a 25(2) te bring. Daar word ook aan die hand gedoen dat onteiening vir oordrag aan derde partye in orde kan wees as dit ‘n geldige openbare doel of die openbare belang dien (bv omdat die derde party ‘n openbare diens lewer of in belang van grondhervorming), maar dat onteiening vir ekonomiese ontwikkeling streng hersien moet word om te verseker dat dit ‘n meer direkte en duidelike openbare belang dien as bloot om die ekonomie te stimuleer of om werk te skep.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/2289
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