Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse reg / Journal of South African Law
Juta & Company Ltd.
Place of publication
Kaapstad, South Africa
Whilst being mindful of the eventual extinction of the legal notion of mineral rights in South Africa upon expiry of the transitional measures in terms of schedule II of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 on 30 April 2009, the classification of mineral rights by the supreme court of appeal in the Anglo decision is to be welcomed, even though it is somewhat ironic at this stage. (As to the extinction of the notion of mineral rights, see Badenhorst "Mineral rights : 'year zero cometh?'" 2001 Obiter 119; "Exodus of 'mineral rights' from South African mineral law" 2004 Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law 218.) It will, however, be shown in this discussion that the decision of the supreme court of appeal will extend beyond the statutory transitional period and will also have an impact on rights to minerals or rights to petroleum as created in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (hereafter referred to as the act). For purposes of this discussion, one can simply continue to refer to mineral rights that developed from the common law as "mineral rights", whilst referring to the new rights created in terms of the act as "rights to minerals and petroleum". The present decision only deals with coal as "minerals".