Definition and Content of OwnershipJohannesburg Municipal Council v Rand Township Registrar 1910 TPD 13 14This case sets out the definition and content of ownership. “Ownership is the real right that potentially confers the most complete or comprehensive control over a thing, which means that the right of ownership entitles the owner to do with his or her thing as he or she deems fit, subject to the limitations imposed by public and private law.” Ownership is often described with reference to the different entitlements or powers of ownership as well as with respect to certain specific characteristics thereof which purport to distinguish it from limited real rights. As it is impossible to compile an exhaustive list of entitlements of ownership and seeing that some of the characteristics usually ascribed to ownership are not akin to ownership only, these methods do not server to define ownership. They do, however, cast light upon the fact that ownership potentially confers the most comprehensive control over a thing. Some of the entitlements usually listed are the following: the entitlement to (a)Use a thing (ius utendi) (b)The fruits; including income from a thing (ius fruendi) (c)Consume and destroy the thing ( ius abutendi) (d)Possess the thing (ius possidendi) (e)Claim the thing from any unlawful possessor (ius vindicandi) Acquisition of OwnershipOriginal AcquisitionOriginal methods of acquiring ownership are used when there is no co-operation from a predecessor in title (this refers to a person who was the owner of a thing before the new owner); in other words, where there is no transfer of ownership. This form of acquisition is also not limited to things belonging to no –one (res nullius): in cases of accession, prescription and expropriation the thing is actually owned by another, but no transfer of ownership takes place. Acquisition takes places regardless of the fact that the thing has been held by another. Occupatio (Occupation)In the context of the law of property occupation may be defined as the unilateral taking of possession by a person of an unowned thing (res nullius) – that is, of a corporeal thing within the sphere of private law (res in commmercio) which is not in ownership of any other person, with the intention of becoming its owner. Elements -There should be physical possession -It must be physically possible to control the thing-There is no requirement that the possession must be lawfully acquired, at the same time, there must be no statute preventing you from such acquisition.Cases R v Mafohla 1958 (2) SA 373Facts: The accused had pleaded guilty to the theft of a carcass of a koodoo. The evidence was that the complainant had mortally wounded it the day before but, having been unable to find it, had recommenced the search next morning and spoored it down to near a paddock fence on the ranch on which he was an assistant where he found a pool of blood. The accused were thereafter found in possession of the carcass and they had stated that their dog had put up the koodoo
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