Property law changes planned for 2023 – 4 important bills to keep an eye on

 ·10 Jan 2023

Land and property can be expected to dominate discussions this year, with a handful of bills making their way to President Cyril Ramaphosa to be signed into law.

Whether it concerns the expropriation of land or people who live in complexes, 2023 will see significant developments affecting individual South Africans.

Before becoming legislation in South Africa, a bill must pass through several stages. It is first proposed in Parliament and sent to a committee for review. After holding open hearings, the committee may amend the legislation.

Parliament then discusses and modifies the bill (comprised of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces) and then examines and revises the bill. If most members vote in favour, it moves on to the President to have assented.

The president can approve the legislation or return it to Parliament with suggestions for amendments.

BusinessTech has highlighted key bills that deal with pertinent land and property issues in the country, which are currently making their way through this process.

Complexes and sectional titles

Parliament is busy with the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill, which, when it comes into law, will establish regulations for developing schemes – including common property and extensions.

According to law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, the bill’s main aim is to ‘fill gaps’ left open by other laws pertaining to the management of sectional titles.

Under the bill, residents of sectional title schemes will see little change; however, how complex managers, body corporates and Home Owner’s Associations interact with sectional titles will fundamentally change.

For example, developers will have to meet with every lessee of a building or part of a building to answer questions put to the developer by the agents of the lessees.

Parliament passed the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill after it was tabled in November 2020. Other influential amendments include:

  • In accordance with section 26(2) of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, an architect’s or land surveyor’s certificate must be valid (where land is only allowed to be used for the permitted purposes)
  • Allow for the modification of sectional title plans according to exclusive use regions.
  • In order to subdivide, consolidate, or extend a section, a property developer must submit a plan to the surveyor-general for approval.

Land expropriation

The National Assembly (NA) passed the Expropriation Bill in September of last year to the National Council of Provinces, edging it closer to becoming law.

As outlined in the bill’s preamble, it seeks to provide for the expropriation of property for a public purpose or in the public interest to regulate the procedure of the expropriation.

The bill also deals with the payment of compensation and instances where no compensation is required for expropriation. Such instances include state land, land held for speculative purposes and abandoned land.

It will abolish the Expropriation Act that is now in effect to establish a uniform framework that is consistent with the country’s Constitution to direct the processes and procedures for the expropriation of property by state institutions, said the NA.

Land courts

Since May 2021, the Land Court Bill has been on the cards in Parliament, undergoing various consultations and public hearings until late September 2022, when it was passed b the NA to the NCOP.

Summarily, the bill aims to establish a Land Court and appeals against decisions of the Land Court to make for the administrative and judicial functions to promote the section 25 constitutional right for the state to enable citizens to gain access to land on an equitable basis.

Law firm Fluxmans said that the bill would specifically aim to accelerate the country’s land reform programmes and resolve backlogs and disputes around land claims.


The Housing Consumer Protection Bill seeks to ensure that those who are purchasing homes are covered in terms of having registered homebuilders and a home warranty fund, as well as for the conduct of homebuilders to be regulated.

The bill was previously tabled in May 2021 and has subsequently taken its time through Parliament.

Read: The houses you can afford on the average salary in South Africa right now

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