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Agri South Africa v Minister of Minerals and Energy and Another (55896/07) [2011] ZAGPPHC 62

5th May 2011

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  • Agri South Africa v Minister of Minerals and Energy and Another (55896/07) [2011] ZAGPPHC 62
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[1] This is a claim for compensation consequent upon an alleged expropriation by the State.

 

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[2] The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 28 of 2002

("the MPRDA") came into force on 1 May 2004. Section 3(1) thereof provides: "Mineral and petroleum resources are the common heritage of all the people of South Africa and the State is the custodian thereof for the benefit of all South Africans." Apart from transitional measures to which I shall refer later, the MPRDA does not recognize the existence of common law mineral rights as they existed directly before the act took effect.

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[3] When the MPRDA commenced, a company, Sebenza Mining (Pty) Ltd1 (Sebenza), held the coal rights on and under Portion 4 of the farm Goedehoop 169 and also those on and under the Remaining Extent of the same farm. (I shall refer to these two farms collectively as "the farms".)

 

[4] The plaintiff, as cessionary of Sebenza's alleged right to compensation, contends that Sebenza was on the date of commencement of the MPRDA expropriated of its coal rights. It is the plaintiffs case that the very enactment of the MPRDA constituted an expropriation. Accordingly, the plaintiff claims compensation2 from the Minister of Mineral Resources3 who, as the appropriate member of the National Executive, is cited for and on behalf of the State.

 

[5] By order of this Court, the Centre for Applied Legal Studies was allowed to intervene as amicus curiae ("the amicus) in respect of the constitutional issue that arises. The amicus adduced no evidence nor did its counsel cross examine any witness. At the end of the trail its counsel presented helpful written and oral argument for which the court is indebted to them.

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