Agri SA provides financial assistance in precedent-setting land claim case

The board of Directors at Agri SA has taken the decision to provide financial support to the appellant in the Moladora Trust v Mereki and Others Case (“Moladora case”). The case is expected to set an important precedent with far-reaching implications for private property rights in South Africa and the scope of the Extension of Security of Tenure Act 62 of 1997 (“ESTA”). 

The appeal is against a Land Claims Court judgment that protects grazing rights under ESTA at the expense of private property rights. If this judgment is upheld, it will markedly increase the administrative and legal costs of removals under ESTA as well as the liability of landowners. 

The applicants in the appeal believe that in the Moladora case, Judge Cowen failed to properly apply the Supreme Court of Appeal precedents already set in the Adendorffs Boerderye and Loskop Landgoed Boerdery. In the Moladora judgment, Judge Cowen admits that these judgements are binding on the Land Claims Court but nevertheless converts the right to graze cattle on the property, which is a personal right derived by consent, into a right under ESTA. 

In a new case before the Land Claims Court, Elma Mostert Trust v Tebele Isaac Mofokeng and one Other (“Elma Moster Trust Case”) the occupier relies upon the judgment in the Moladora case and seeks to broaden it. In the Elma Mostert Trust case, it is argued that any removal of cattle ought therefore to be done in terms of ESTA. The reliance on the judgment in the Moladora case could have far-reaching consequences if allowed to go unchallenged and used as a precedent in future cases. This escalation underscores the need to reverse the judgment of Judge Cowen in Moladora. It is essential that the Moladora judgment does not become a precedent. 

Agri SA sought independent legal counsel regarding the Moladora case and its impact on all farmers if the appeal is unsuccessful. It was based upon this expert guidance that Agri SA has taken the decision to provide financial support to the appellant. 

Agri SA is concerned first and foremost with the sustainability of farming in South Africa and the protection of the nation’s food security. We will therefore provide support – whether legal or otherwise – where necessary to protect the interest of the agricultural sector. 

Media enquiries:

Willem de Chavonnes Vrugt

Chairman of Centre of Excellent Land

C: 082 946 2303

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