The Operation Bring Back (OBB) programme is an initiative of the National Department of Public Works (DPW) which aims to recover land and other properties, including farms which were illegally occupied or stolen from the state prior and immediately after the 1994 democratic transition.
In terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, No 108 of 1996, all state owned national and provincial immovable assets must be vested in the name of the national government or in the name of the nine provinces. The national government is therefore the custodian of all national government immovable assets.
In April 2011, the National Department of Public Works started an OBB programme, which was largely dependent on the public coming forward to report cases of misappropriation through a call centre which was launched during a public communication campaign at the time. This OBB programme ceased to function in October 2011 and no cases were investigated.
An OBB programme has been launched internally by the National Department of Public Works and the DPW family to specifically deal with a) identifying, b) investigating and c) recovering possible cases where state properties have unlawfully/ to the detriment of the state been:
- disposed of other than through a proper transfer
- to another state custodian, private individuals, companies, trusts,
- transferred incorrectly/ unlawfully (incorrect property transferred)
- occupied unlawfully or encroached upon
- sold and transferred at below market value where not donated for valid reasons.
Members of the public should use the Public Service Commission’s Anti-Corruption Hotline (0800 701 701) to report state owned properties that were illegally acquired or sold at below market value.