Plot buyer beware ~ Alien and Invasive Plants

On Monday we warned potential buyers of smallholdings to examine the pastures in order to assess how well the fields have been managed.
Secondly, the buyer needs to be sure that there are no invasive species in the pastures. The Gauteng Smallholder was made aware of a case where a buyer only discovered after the sale had gone through that he had a serious infestation of “Bankrupt Bush”. This is an indigenous invader plant that poses a serious threat to large areas of the grassland and savannah biomes in South Africa. It is unpalatable and very difficult to eradicate.
Also, if land has evidence of any listed invasive species mentioned in terms of the Regulations to the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act this will have serious consequences both for the seller and the buyer of the property.
Some estate agents are now advising that reference to plants and vegetation be included in the acknowledgement by the purchaser that he has acquainted himself fully with the extent and nature of the property he is buying and that he accepts it as such.
The Regulations specifically state that “The seller of any immovable property must, prior to the conclusion of the relevant sale agreement, notify the purchaser of that property in writing of the presence of listed invasive species on that property.”
The purpose of the legislation is to conserve our indigenous fauna and flora, to foster sustainable use of land, to identify aliens timeously and to prevent the introduction or spread of these problematic plants. Non-adherence to the Regulations by a land owner or a seller of land can result in a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to R5 million (R10 million in case of a second offence) and / or a period of imprisonment of up to 10 years.