‘Expropriation’ is when the Government takes your land, or a part of it, for some purpose which serves the national interest. This happens frequently, for example, with the creation of new freeways, or a new airport, etc. When the Gautrain was built, many people’s homes, factories, offices and open land were expropriated.

The Expropriation Act 1975 establishes a method and process for people to be compensated when their immovable property has been expropriated.

How this happens is the Minister of Public Works will issue to the person concerned a notice of expropriation. In it, he will offer compensation, and he may ask for the title deed1 to the property in question. Within two months, the person must notify the Minister, in writing, whether he accepts the offer of compensation. If not, he must nominate the amount he will accept.

  1. It is a criminal offence to provide false information in such a notification to the Minister.2

  2. It is an offence not to hand over the title deed if required.3

  1. The ‘title deed’ is an official document, registered in terms of the Deeds Registries Act 1937, which proves ownership of a certain piece of land. 

  2. Section 9(5). 

  3. Section 9(3).