The Draft Property Valuation Bill is headed to parliament which brings closer government’s ambition to establish a “Valuer-General’s Office”.
Cabinet announced yesterday that it has approved the submission of the Draft Property Valuation Bill, 2013 to Parliament.
The cabinet statement said “The Bill makes provision for the establishment of a Valuer-General’s Office. This office will provide a valuation service for property that has been identified for expropriation and land reform purposes, as well as voluntary property valuation service to departments that may request the office to perform such valuations”.
The initiative follows rising concerns that South Africa’s land reform programme has moved at a snail pace following the 1994 promise to redistribute land to the dispossessed. Government has laid the blame on high prices of land targeted for redistribution.
This has led government to declare that the willing-seller-willing-buyer approach has hobbled land redistribution. The establishment of a “Valuer-General’s Office” is designed to address “market failure”. Earlier proposals have suggested that this office will also serve to value land identified for disposal by a government department or an organ of state. This may be partly designed to wipe out disposal of state land at ridiculously low prices as seen in a number of previous cases.
In May this year government called for the first round of public comment on the Draft Property Valuation Bill. In calling for public comment the department of rural development and land reform had cited the following as key driving factors:
“According to the bill’s explanatory memorandum, “new legislation is required to give effect to the provisions of the Constitution which provide for land reform and land restitution and to facilitate land reform and land restitution through the valuation of property in order to determine the purchase price for or payment in respect of property,” said the department.
The rural development department holds the view that the willing-buyer-willing-seller approach to land reform is not working at a sufficient level to achieve the desired land reform targets”.
The plan is to deliver 25 million hectares of commercial agricultural land by 2015. So far, only 25% of this has been achieved”.
Other objectives of the bill include:
• to provide for the establishment, functions and powers of the Office of the Valuer-General;
• to provide for the appointment and responsibilities of the Valuer-General;
• to provide for the valuation of property that has been identified for land reform or expropriation for purposes of determining a value as well as property that has been identified for acquisition or disposal by a department, organ of state or a municipality;
• to provide for the establishment of a review committee to deal with objections to valuations; and
• to provide for the repeal of the Land Affairs Act.”