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Agricultural subdivision

20 September 2012

Definition of an Agricultural Holding
Agricultural holding” is defined in the Agricultural Holdings (Transvaal) Registration Act, 22 of 1919 (hereinafter referred to as the Agricultural Holdings Registration Act), as land of which the use is determined, and it is not smaller than 1 morgen (8565 square metres).

Prohibition of the subdivision of an agricultural holding in title deed conditions
The title deed conditions in respect of agricultural holdings, in most cases, contain a provision that the land may not be further subdivided or any portion thereof sold, leased or disposed of without the consent of the Premier. This provision is usually one of the establishment conditions imposed by the Minister of Agriculture, in terms of Agricultural Holdings Registration Act.

Prohibition of transferring agricultural holding in undivided shares
Section 5(2) of the Agricultural Holdings Registration Act provides that an agricultural holding may not be transferred to more than one person, if such owner’s portion will be smaller than 1 morgen (8565 square metres) on division thereof. This subsection is not applicable to land which has been expropriated for railway or public purposes.

In view of the decision in the case of Martin Martens v Registrar of Deeds (unreported: see Case Number 118/1965) the transfer of an agricultural holding to two or more transferees by virtue of one transfer deed is permissible, provided it is not contrary to section 5(2) of the Agricultural Holdings Registration Act. In practice, however, it will be allowed where the transfer is an inheritance, and a further transfer is registered simultaneously to bring the matter within the limits of section 5(2) of the Agricultural Holdings Registration Act.

Thus, by way of example, where Holding 452 Glen Austin Agricultural Holdings is for example 4,0680 ha in extent and the holding is transferred to 3 transferees, the transfer would not be contrary to section 5(2), because 4,0680 ha ÷ 3 = 1,3560 ha. In other words each co owner’s portion would not be smaller than 8565 square metres on division thereof, provided the division is not prohibited in terms of a condition of title as alluded to above.

Where the holding is, however, transferred to 5 transferees, the transfer is indeed contrary to section 5(2) as 4,0680 ha ÷ 5 = 8136 square metres. In other words each co owner’s portion would be smaller than 8565 square metres on division thereof. The transfer can thus not be registered unless the Premier’s consent is lodged, or unless a further transfer is registered simultaneously to bring the matter within the limits of section 5(2) of the Agricultural Holdings Registration Act.

Allen West
Deeds Training
Pretoria

Reader Comments: 4
Deena murugasen 21/09/2012:

Is the explanation applicable to agricultural sub divisions in other provinces and particularly in KZN?

Morne 26/09/2012:

Does this mean in essence that you can subdivide a 50 ha farm into 5 portions of 10 ha each and sell off?

John Christie 27/09/2012:

The Registrars' Conference Ruling here is ill-considered, and needs to be amended. It causes major problems in KZN. I intend to take this up at the 2012 conference.

Allen West 01/10/2012:

The article does not refer to agricultural land as defined in Act 70 of 1970, but merely alludes to Agricultural Holdings that were registered in the former Transvaal.  Agricultural land as defined in Act 70 of 1970 is governed by the Act read in conjunction with CRC 6 of 2002 which was issued on instructions from the then Minister.

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