Back to top

Section 25: Property

No one can have their property taken away from them unless this is done according to a law.

Expropriating Private Property

The government can take a person’s land away from them if:

  • It needs the land for public purposes, or
  • It is in the public’s interest, for example, if the government needs the land for its land reform programme.

If the government takes land from a person they must pay the person compensation. There are certain things to think about when a landowner and the government are deciding how much compensation to pay for the land. These are:

  • The history of how the property was bought and what it was used for before
  • How much the owner has improved the property
  • What the property is being used for now
  • The market value: what the price of the property would be if a private person or business bought it
  • How much the government can pay: how much money the government has in its budget to pay for the property
  • What the government wants to do with the property


The government wants to build a dam to provide water for a community. They want to build the dam on your property. The government can take the land from you but they must pay you for the land. The amount of money the government will pay can either be agreed between you and the government, or it can be decided by a court if you cannot agree.

Land Reform

Section 25 says the government must make laws and take other steps to help people or communities get land to live on.

(See: Land and Housing)

Labour Tenants

If a person has been living on land which they were not allowed to own because of apartheid laws, they will now be able to own this land or be paid compensation for it. An example of this is people who live on farms as labour tenants. The Extension of Security of Tenure Act has been passed by the government which gives labour tenants certain rights in terms of Section 25.

(See: Land Tenure Reform)