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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versión On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versión impresa ISSN 1017-0499


PLAATJIES-VAN HUFFEL, Mary-Anne. Whose Land Is it anyway? A historical Reflection on the Challenges URCSA Encountered with Land and Property Rights. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2020, vol.46, n.2, pp.1-16. ISSN 2412-4265.

The proposal to amend the Constitution of South Africa 1996 regarding the expropriation of land without compensation has invigorated a robust discourse with regard to the land issue in South Africa. Cognisance should be taken of how the land issue was handled during the apartheid dispensation and the way it has played out in the constitutional democracy dispensation since 1994 in South Africa. This article will attend to issues relating to land in the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA). URCSA was constituted in 1994 due to a merger of two racially segregated churches, the Dutch Reformed Mission Church (DRMC) and the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa (DRCA). The DRMC was constituted through mission endeavours of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) during 1881 to serve so-called coloured members of the DRC. The DRCA was constituted in or about 1910 to serve African members. In order to understand the controversy in URCSA from 1994-2012 with regard to property rights, one has to understand how the colonists and missionaries (and later the apartheid regime) utilised "divide and rule" and supremacy strategies to secure property rights for churches of people from mixed descent and Indian people (the DRMC) and the Reformed Church in Africa [RCA]); while at the same time restricting property rights for churches of members from African descent (the DRCA). This is evident in the way the constitutions of the above-mentioned mission churches were drafted. This article will attend to the following subthemes: property rights of the DRMC challenged by apartheid laws; property rights of the DRCA challenged by apartheid laws; a court case regarding the expropriation of land without compensation; controversy regarding property rights (1998-2012); from litigation to out-of-court settlement on property rights (1998-2012); and lastly out-of-court settlement between the DRC, the DRCA and URCSA.

Palabras clave : apartheid laws; Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act; expropriation of land without compensation; Group Areas Act; litigation; Natives Land Act; out-of-court settlement; property rights.

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