The relevance of constitutional protection and regulation of property for the private law of ownership in South Africa and Germany : a comparative analysis with specific reference to land law reform

Mostert, Hanri (2000-11)

Thesis (LLD)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation is an attempt at reconciling the existing (and until recently predominant) private law concept of ownership and the property rights espoused by the new constitutional order. The attempts at land reform in South Africa and Germany are used as specifie examples of the manner in which the whole property law order in both these legal systems is developed through legislative and judicial initiative, on the basis of the constitutional provisions concerning property protection and regulation. The purpose of the investigation is to determine to what extent constitutional development of the private law of property will result in a property law order serving the socio-economic and political goals of economic growth and self-fulfilment and empowerment of the individual. Focus is placed on the influence of the constitutional protection and regulation of property as a mechanism for developing the private law of ownership in Germany and South Africa. In the first part of the exposition, the choice of legal comparison as course of inquiry is substantiated, and the terminological difficulties connected with an investigation into the development of the private law of property by the constitutional protection and regulation of property are discussed. Attention is given to the use of the terms "ownership" and "property" in the private law and in the constitutional context. The term "tenure" is also discussed in the context of land reform in South Africa. Further, the usc of terms such as "public interest", "common weal" and "public purposes" is discussed. The use of these terms are particularly complicated by the fact that each of them are often used in more than one sense, and that the use of these di fferent terms overlap to varying extents. The second part of the exposition contains information on the background of the constitutional property orders as they arc found in Germany and South Africa. The drafting histories of the South African and German constitutional property clauses indicate that in both these legal systems, the constitutional property clauses have hybrid ideological foundations. Both contain a compromise between, on the one hand, classical liberalism (which affords the holders of rights a high degree of individual freedom and autonomy) and, on the other hand, social democracy (which allow stronger regulatory measures, also upon private properly). Further, some of the structural aspects connected to constitutional protection and regulation of property in Germany and South Africa are discussed. The positively phrased property guarantee in art 14 GG is compared with the negatively phrased "guarantee" of s 25 Fe, whereby the transitional property guarantee in s 28 JC is also considered. Further, the basic structure and stages of an inquiry into the constitutional property clause are discussed, with reference to differences between the German and South African methods. These differences are not of such a nature that it excludes further comparison. Ilowever, it is necessary to keep the differences in the judicial system in mind when conducting a comparison of the present nature. Therefore, a brief overview of the judicial systems of Germany and South Africa is provided, with specific reference to the manner in which the courts resolved certain property questions. The principles underlying the constitutional orders of Germany and South Africa are also discussed with specific reference to their significance for the treatment of property issues. In particular, the meaning of the constitutional state (Rechtsstaat) and the social wei fare state (Sozialstaat) for the solution of problems connected to property is discussed. It is indicated that the legitimacy of the legal order in general and property law in particular, depends on the degree of success in the implementation of these values. Further, it is indicated that the implementation of these values also determines the importance of private property and/or regulation thereof in a specific legal system. In the third part of the exposition, the relevance of the constitutional protection and regulation for the private law of ownership is discussed. The expansion of the concept of property by the application of a "purely" constitutional definition thereof raises the question as to the continued relevance of the private law concept of ownership. This issue is discussed with reference to the protection of property in terms of the constitution in comparison with the scope of property in private law. It is indicated that the "exclusively constitutional" concept of property is by no means based only on Constitutional law. The role of the private law concept of ownership in a constitutional order is then elucidated. The discussion then turns to an analysis of the limitations on property endorsed by the constitutional order. Two main kinds of limitation are possible: (i) limitation of property through vertical operation of the constitution (ie a broad category of legislative and administrative deprivation (regulation), and a more specialised category, namely expropriations), and (ii) limitation through horizontal operation of the constitution (ie through the inroads allowed on property rights by the protection of other rights in the Bill of Rights). It is indicated that the application of the public interest / public purposes requirements are sometimes intended to protect individual interest above those of society in general. In other cases, the public interest / public purposes requirement is aimed at securing the interests of the society at large. Further, it is indicated that the purpose of constitutional "interference" in the area of private property law is to correct imbalances in the relations among private persons which are regarded by the law as "equals," even if they are not equal for all practical purposes. The fourth part of the exposition concentrates on the land reform programmes in Germany (after the reunification of 1990) and South Africa (since 1991) in order to analyse the attempts by the legislature and judiciary to give effect to the improved property order as anticipated by constitutional development of property. In both Germany and South Africa political changes made land reform programmes essential: In South Africa the land reform programme was introduced to reverse the injustices created by colonialism and apartheid. A tripartite programme is employed for this purpose. The new kinds of land rights created through this system of land reform are indicated. The manner in which this body of law is treated by the courts is also analysed with reference to its relevance for the development of Property Law in general. In Germany a property and land reform programme became necessary with the reunification. On the one hand, the socialist property order in the former GDR had to be replaced by the property order already existing in the FGR, and on the other hand the individual claims for restitution of the land and enterprises taken by the GDR state or its Soviet predecessor had to be balanced against the claims that present occupiers of such land have to it. The influence of legislation and litigation connected to these issues on the development of Property Law is discussed. The final part of the exposition is a summary of the conclusions drawn during the course of the analysis.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In 'n poging om in hierdie uiteensetting die bestaande (en tot onlangs nog oorheersende) privaatregtelike begrip "eiendom" te versoen met die breër eiendomsbegrip wat deur die nuwe grondwetlike bestel gepropageer word, word die grondhervormingsprogramme in Suid Afrika en Duitsland gebruik as voorbeelde van die wyse waarop die bestaande Eiendomsreg in beide regsisteme deur die wetgewer en die howe ontwikkel word. Die doel van die ondersoek is om vas te stel tot watter mate die grondwetlike ontwikkeling van privaatregtelike Eiendomsreg sal bydra tot die totstandkoming van 'n eiendomsregtelike regsorde waarin die sosio-ekonomiese en politieke doelwitte van ekonomiese groei en die vrye ontwikkeling en bemagtiging van die individu gedien word. Die klem word geplaas op die grondwetlike beskerming en regulering van eiendom as 'n meganisme waardeur die privaatregtelike Eiendomsreg in Duitsland en Suid- Afrika ontwikkel kan word. Die eerste deel van die uiteensetting begrond die keuse van regsvergelying as metode van analise en bespreek die terminologiese probleme wat in 'n ondersoek na die grondwetlike ontwikkeling van die privaatregtelike eiendomsreg kan opduik. Aandag word gegee aan die gebruik van begrippe wat verband hou met eiendom en publieke belang in sowel die privaatreg as in die grondwetlike konteks. Die gebruik van verskillende terme, veral in Engels, kan problematies wees, en daarom word dit breedvoeriger bespreek. In die tweede deel van die uiteensetting word die agtergrond waarteen die grondwetlike bestelle van Duitsland en Suid-Afrika funksioneer, bespreek: Eers word die formulering van die eiendomsklousules in Suid-Afrika en Duitsland vanuit 'n historiese perspektief ondersoek. In beide regsisteme is die grondwetlike eiendomsklousules op 'n kompromis tussen verskillende ideologieë gebaseer. Enersyds op klassieke liberalisme, in terme waarvan eienaars en ander reghebbendes 'n hoë mate van individuele vryheid en outonomie toegeken word; andersyds op sosiaal-demokratiese denke, in terme waarvan strenger regulerende maatreëls (ook op privaat eiendom) geduld moet word. Dan word sommige van die strukturele aspekte verbonde aan die grondwetlike beskerming en regulering van eiendom in Duitsland en Suid-Afrika bespreek. Die positief geformuleerde eiendomswaarborg in art 14 GG word vergelyk met die negatiewe formulering in art 25 FG en die positiewe waarborg in art 28 lG. Verder word die basiese struktuur en fases van 'n grondwetlike ondersoek in die beskerming en regulering van eiendom bespreek, met spesifieke verwysing na die verskille in die Duitse en Suid-Afrikaanse benaderings. Hierdie verskille is nie van so 'n aard dat dit regsvergelyking kortwiek nie. Nogtans is dit noodsaaklik dat die benaderingsverskille in ag geneem word vir 'n meer diepgaande vergelyking. Daarom word 'n vlugtige oorsig oor die rol van die howe in die hantering van eiendomsvraagstukke in grondwetlike konteks verskaf. Verder word die beginsels onderliggend aan die grondwetlike bestelle in Duitsland en Suid-Afrika bespreek met spesifieke verwysing na die betekenis daarvan vir die beskerming en regulering van eiendom. Daar word veral klem gelê op die regstaat- en sosiaalstaatbeginsels. Die legitimi teit van die regsorde in die algemeen, en meer spesifiek die Eiendomsreg, hang af van die mate van sukses waarmee hierdie beginsels in die gemeenskap geïmplementeer word. Daar word verder aangedui dat die toepassing van hierdie beginsels die mate van individuele vryheid in die uitoefening van eiendomsreg en/of die graad van regulering van eiendomsreg in 'n bepaalde regstelsel bepaal. Die derde deel van die uiteensetting konsentreer op die betekenis van die grondwetlike beskerming en regulering van eiendom vir die privaatregtelike Eiendomsreg. Die uitgebreide eiendomsbegrip wat in die grondwetlike konteks aangewend word, gee aanleiding tot die vraag na die sin van 'n voortgesette enger eiendomsbegrip in die privaatreg. Hierdie kwessie word bespreek met verwysing na die beskerming van eiendom in terme van die grondwet, en word vergelyk met die omvang van die eiendomsbegrip in die privaatreg. Daar word aangedui dat die sogenaamde uitsluitlik grondwetlike eiendomsbegrip geensins eksklusief aan die Grondwetlike Reg is nie. Die rol van die privaatregtelike eiendomsbegrip in 'n grondwetlike bestel word vervolgens uiteengesit. Verder word die beperkings op eiendom in die grondwetlike konteks geanaliseer. In beginsel is twee soorte beperkings regverdigbaar: (i) Beperking van eiendomsreg deur die vertikale aanwending van die grondwet, dit wil sê deur die breër kategorie wetgewende en administratiewe ontnemings (regulerings) van eiendomsreg en deur 'n enger en meer spesifieke kategorie, naamlik onteiening; en (ii) beperking van eiendomsreg deur horisontale aanwending van die grondwet, dit wil sê deur die inbreuk op eiendomsregte wat toegelaat word as gevolg van die uitwerking van die beskerming van ander regte in die Handves vir Menseregte. Daar word aangedui dat die vereiste van publieke belang in twee teenoorstaande opsigte gebruik word: Enersyds om die individuele belang bo dié van die gemeenskap te stel, en andersyds om die gemeenskap se belange as sulks te beskerm. Daar word ook aangedui dat grondwetlike "inmenging" met privaatregtelike eiendomsreg daarop gemik is om ongebalanseerdhede in die regsverhoudings tussen persone wat deur die reg as "gelykes" bejeën word en in effek nie gelyk is nie, uit te skakel. In die vierde deel van die uiteensetting word die grondhervormingsprogramrne in Duitsland (sedert hervereniging in 1990) en Suid-Afrika (sedert 1991) bespreek. Die klem val op die pogings van die wetgewer en howe om die verbeterde eiendomsbestel, soos wat dit in die grondwet in die vooruitsig gestel word, te konkretiseer. In beide regstelsels het politieke veranderinge 'n grondhervormingsprogram onontbeerlik gemaak: Die grondhervormingsprogram in Suid-Afrika het ten doelom die ongeregtighede in die grondbesitstelsel wat ontstaan het as gevolg van kolonialisme en apartheid uit te skakel. Vir dié doel berus die grondhervormingsprogram op drie verwante, maar uiteenlopende, beginsels. Die nuwe vorme van grondregte wat uit hierdie sisteem ontstaan, word aangedui, en die wyse waarop hierdie deel van die reg deur die howe hanteer word, word bespreek met verwysing na die betekenis daarvan vir die ontwikkeling van die Eiendomsreg. In Duitsland is die noodwendigheid van 'n grondhervormingsprogram aan die hervereniging van die DDR en die BRD gekoppel. Die sosialisties-georienteerde eiendomsbestel wat in die "oostelike" deel van Duitsland aanwending gevind het, moes vervang word deur die bestel wat reeds in die "westelike" deel van die "nuwe" staat in werking was. Verder moet die grondeise van persone wat grond of besigheidseiendom verloor het gedurende die sosialistiese regeringstyd en die voorafgaande Sowjetiese besetting, opgeweeg word teen die aansprake wat huidige besitters op sulke grond het. Die invloed van wetgewing en regspraak hieroor op die Eiendomsreg word geanaliseer. Die laaste deel van die uiteensetting bevat 'n samevatting van die gevolgtrekkings wat deur die loop van die analise gemaak is.

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