State to restrict foreign owners
The government will outline a plan to crack down on the sale of South Africa's much-sought-after coastal land to foreigners and the super-rich.
The announcement was made yesterday by the cabinet in the wake of reports that coastal and other land is being sold to foreigners and the rich while poor South Africans and other citizens are denied access to the coast.
The cabinet had indicated before that this would be done, but this is the first time that it plans to introduce legislation to curb the sale of many hectares of some of the most valuable land in the world, cabinet spokesman Themba Maseko told a media briefing yesterday.
"Clearly what the cabinet is concerned about is the increased number and mushrooming of estates in many parts of the country, particularly in the Cape and where certain sections of land have basically been closed off.
"It has also been sold at very high prices, which basically means that only the super-rich and foreigners will buy that piece of land," Maseko said.
"And in that process, access to coastal land is becoming increasingly restricted. South Africans could wake up one day and discover that only foreign nationals and the super-rich have access to our coastline," he added.
The government plans to do this through the Integrated Coastal Management Bill.
Tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk is expected to provide details of the plan on Sunday.
This announcement comes shortly after a landmark ruling by the Knysna magistrates' court on Wednesday against a property developer who had sought to prevent the public from getting to the beach through its property.
The court ruled that Pezula Private Estate should allow unrestricted use of steps leading to Noetzie Beach provided by the municipality. Pezula had bought several properties in the area and in May fenced off the steps while it proceeded with developments.