This paper looks at the common risk of acquiring vacant land in speculation which is not ready for development in South Africa. 

Land in urban areas is a scarce commodity hence and the demand thereof far exceeds the supply and that is confirmed by the exorbitant price attached to it. 

The movement of communities from the rural settlements to the urban areas for economic reasons has aggravated the land scarcity thus affecting the poor communities in a big way.

The Constitution of South Africa and the Bill of Rights stipulates that every citizen in the country has a right to housing therefore the people take advantage and demand land from the Government of the day. 

The rate by which the people flock into the urban areas is so high such that authorities are unable to cope with the demand for social housing resulting in a backlog in the housing delivery.

Due to the scarcity of the social housing, poor communities in the urban areas have adopted a tendency of erecting informal structures in order to provide themselves with shelters. 

Such structures are normally erected unlawfully on the land that belongs to others. These land owners could either be private owners or different spheres of government.

The problem of land invasion affects both private owners and government alike in a way that the land which was reserved for a specific use at a specific time may be unlawfully occupied and used inappropriately thus jeopardising the future plans including financial loss. 

Government is likely to be more affected even though the land in question may be belonging to the private owners because government is obligated by the Constitution to provide basic services including housing to the citizens. 

Affected private owners often approach the government and demand for help in the removal of unlawful land occupiers. The government is normally required by the affected private owners to pay compensation for the interest lost in the value of the occupied land.  In order to determine the fair compensation the value of the unlawfully occupied land must be determined.

This paper will also look at the different approaches that can be used to determine the value of the unlawfully occupied land for the purpose of determining fair compensation thereof.

Different case studies where both government and private owners have a title to the affected land are going to be presented in the paper in order to substantiate the findings or the recommendations.

Different pieces of legislation that are used in dealing with the unlawfully occupied land will be explored in the quest to find answers to the problem in question. The common legislation that is used to tackle the problem is Prevention of Illegal Eviction and unlawful Occupation of land Act, 1998. This Act is normally referred to as “The PIE Act”.

Basically PIE prohibits the owners of the unlawfully occupied properties from evicting the unlawful occupiers.  Eviction can be executed but following the procedures stipulated in the Act.  Recommendations will be tabled in the paper on the best approach of determining the value of the affected land.