The Subdivision of Agricultural Land Act No. 70 of 1970 Explained: Part 3



In this Part 3 of the series on “The Subdivision of Agricultural Land Act No. 70 of 1970 Explained”, we will discuss the procedure on how to apply for the consent as required by the Minister for any actions regarding agricultural land which is prohibited in terms of Section 3 of the Act. This will include the Minister’s imposition, enforcement or withdrawal of conditions by him or her, as well as any miscellaneous provisions.

When you want to perform any of the actions which are set out in Section 3 of the Act, you will have to apply to the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development of South Africa to obtain his or her consent thereto. This application needs to be made by the owner of the land concerned if the action being contemplated relates to the subdivision of agricultural land; the vesting of undivided shares or a part of undivided shares in any other person not already held by a person; leasing of agricultural land for a period of more than ten (10) years or subsequent leases amounting to a period of more than ten (10) years; and selling or advertising a portion of agricultural land. These actions are set out in Section 3(a) to (e) of the Act and are more fully discussed in Part 2 of this series.

This application by the owner as referred to above needs to be lodged or submitted at the correct location and it should be in the correct form as determined and required by the Minister. The application also needs to be accompanied by the necessary plans, documents and information if required by the Minister. The word “owner” for this section of the Act has the meaning assigned to it in section 102 of the Deeds Registries Act, No. 47 of 1947.

The term “owner” is defined as the person who is registered as the owner or holder of the immovable property and includes the trustee in an insolvent estate, a liquidator or trustee elected or appointed under the Farmers' Assistance Act, 1935, the liquidator of a company which is an owner and the representative recognised by law of any owner who has died or who is a minor or of unsound mind or is otherwise under disability: provided that such trustee, liquidator or legal representative is acting within the authority conferred on him by law.

The Minister may at his or her discretion either refuse such application or grant such application on any conditions which he or she deems fit. Such conditions may also pertain to the purpose or manner in which the land in question may be used for example if the Minister is satisfied that the land in question will not be used for agricultural purposes after consultation with the Administrator of the province in which such land is situated and upon such proposed conditions by the Administrator, then the Minister may grant such an application.

Such conditions imposed by either the Minister or Administrator may be enforced, varied or withdrawn by the Minister or the Administrator, upon consultation with the Minister. If such condition is registered against the title deed of such land, the Minister has the authority to direct that such condition be varied or cancelled.

In Part 4 of the series on “The Subdivision of Agricultural Land Act No. 70 of 1970 Explained”, we shall further look at miscellaneous provisions in the Act pertaining to succession, general plans or diagrams of the land, registration of servitudes, fees and offences and or penalties.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)