Who owns what land in South Africa?

After an audit undertaken by the Surveyor-general Mmuso Riba in July 2013 this is what has been appraised in the audit. The state owns only 14% of the land which the report said was allocated to agriculture and fisheries, 4 million hectares or 19.7% of this 14%.

The Department of Home Affairs could also not submit statistics for foreign ownership as their database does not cater for this criteria. The report based their assessment solely on state owned land.

The intention of the report, which was accepted by Government, according to spokesperson Phumla Williams, was to determine how land was distributed in South Africa. The report states that 79% of the land distributed is privately owned, either with private individuals or companies.

4% was allocated then to the former Transkei and Eastern Cape, 79% private land and 14% state land. There is thus 3% of land which is unaccounted for which equates to 8 million hectares. The Surveyor-general stated in the report that only state owned land was visited.

The other basis of the report was to establish land development, distribution, occupancy and use. The report was also used to assess service delivery and to do planning. With 3% unaccounted land, service delivery could become a problem.

Land distribution and allocation is a key factor in determining rates and taxes on properties and this may raise questions with tax payers.

The advice to home owners would be to make sure that your property is correctly recorded with the deeds office and municipality. This could save money on rates and taxes and if you are in the process of selling your property it could obstruct the sale and transfer of your property if figures do not match.

Ensuring that your property is correctly recorded will save you much effort and even money.

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