Dr Gaopalelwe Mathiba


Gaopalelwe Mathiba is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Private Law. He holds an LLB degree from the North-West University; an LLM degree (with distinction) from the University of the Western Cape and a PhD in Law from the University of Cape Town.

Mathiba’s broad research interests include constitutional aspects of property law, eviction law, mining law, comparative law and related aspects. He teaches property law. Before joining UCT, Mathiba was a lecturer at Rhodes University (Grahamstown) and the University of South Africa (Pretoria). In 2020, he was a research assistant to Prof Hanri Mostert - the DST/NRF SARChI Chair for Mineral Law in Africa (MLiA). He is also serving a number of local law journals including the Journal of Law, Democracy and Development (as a technical editor) and the South African Journal on Human Rights (as assistant editor).

Mathiba is a member of the Scientific Network on Eviction and Housing Rights (SNEHR), an academic network which forms part of the EVICT-project hosted by the University of Groningen (Netherlands). To raise awareness and accessibility, Mathiba writes blogs and opinion pieces on various topics and legal developments in South Africa, featured on various platforms including Daily Maverick, News24 Opinion, The Thinker, AfricLaw, MLiA Opinion and others.

Research interests/Expertise 

Property Law; Constitutional Property Law; Eviction Law; Mining Law; Comparative Law


  • Law of Property
  • Advanced Property Law (Final Year Elective)
  • Property in a Constitutional Order (Masters)
  • South African Mineral Law: Context, Theory & Reform (Final Year Elective)


Chapters in books

Mathiba G “Strengthening the Gambia’s Electoral Regime: A Quest for Inclusive and Participatory Democracy” in Nabaneh S, Abebe A & Sowe G (eds.) The Gambia in Transition: Towards a New Constitutional Order Pretoria: Pretoria University Law Press - PULP (2022) at 129-157.

Mathiba G “Mine community displacement and resettlement in South Africa” (co-authored with Mostert H) in Graham N, Davies M & Godden L (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Property, Law and Society 1st ed Routledge: Taylor & Francis (2022) at 61-74.

Mathiba G “Combatting Financial Exclusion of Low-income Earners through Financial Education in South Africa” (co-authored with Magau PT) in Chitimira HT & Warikandwa TV (eds.) Promoting and Prioritising Financial Inclusion in Southern Africa: A Contemporary Law and Economics Perspective Juta & Co. (2023) at 129-145.

Mathiba G “The Constitutionality of the COVID-19 Moratorium on Evictions in South Africa” in Boggenpoel Z et al. (eds.) Property and Pandemics: Property Law Responses to COVID-19 Claremont: Juta (2021) at 208-228.

Journal articles

Mathiba G “The Incorporation of the FPIC Principle in South African Policy on Mining-Induced Displacements: Bottlenecks and Opportunities” (2023) 30(4) International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 1-23.

Mathiba G “Compulsory Acquisition of Property for Urban Densification in South Africa: An Answer to the Chronic Housing Backlog?” (2023) International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (forthcoming).

Mathiba G “Corruption in Land Administration and Governance: A Hurdle to Transitional Justice in the Post- Apartheid South Africa?” (2021) 42(3) Obiter 561-579.

Mathiba G “Rethinking the Regulation of Mining Activities in a Declared Protected Environment: MEJCON Case Analysis” (co-authored with Lefenya K) (2020) 34(2) Speculum Juris 146-155.

Mathiba G “Corruption, Public Sector Procurement and COVID-19 in South Africa: Negotiating the New Normal” (2020) 55(4) Journal of Public Administration 642-661.

Mathiba G “Revitalising the role of the Auditor-General under the auspices of The Public Audit Amendment Act 5 of 2018: A quest for public financial accountability” (co-authored with Lefenya K) (2019) 54(4) Journal of Public Administration 532-545.

Mathiba G “The role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in relation to social protection” (2019) 20(1) ESR Review: Economic and Social Rights in South Africa 25-27.

Mathiba G “Can a provincial government under national intervention intervene in a municipality?” (2019) 14(2) Local Government Bulletin.

Mathiba G “Evictions and tenure security in South Africa: a review of Baron and Others v Claytile (Pty) Ltd and Another (2017)” (2018) 19(2) ESR Review: Economic and Social Rights in South Africa 12-15.

Mathiba G “Has COVID-19 pandemic hinted at a necessary revisit to the South African eviction law? Assessing the effectiveness of pandemic-induced eviction moratorium” (co-authored with Somandi M) (2022) ESR Review: Economic and Social Rights in South Africa.

Theses and mini-dissertations

Mathiba G Assessing the Impact of Section 26 of the Constitution, 1996 on Evictions and Ownership Rights in South Africa, 2018 (Research report presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an LLB degree, North-West University) - supervised by Dr K Lefenya.

Mathiba G The Role of the Auditor-General in the Promotion of Efficient Financial Management in Municipalities: A Case Study of the North West Province, 2020 (Thesis for partial fulfilment of the requirements for an LLM degree, University of the Western Cape - supervised by Prof N Steytler – SARChI Research Chair in Multilevel Government, Law & Development.

Book reviews

Mathiba G “Book Review: Exploring the link between poverty and human rights in Africa” (2020) 20(1) African Human Rights Law Journal 346-353.

Mathiba G “Book Review: Decentralisation and Constitutionalism in Africa, edited by Charles M. Fombad and Nico Steytler” (2020) 50(4) Publius: The Journal of Federalism 1-12.

Mathiba G “Book Review: South African schooling: The enigma of inequality” (co-reviewed with Nkoana T) (2020) 18(3) Journal of Transformative Education 251-259.

Conference presentations & seminars

Mathiba G “Enhancing Accountability for Environmental Damage in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland: Towards Environmental Justice” (co-presented with K Lefenya) at the Environmental Law Association (EIA) Annual Conference, 15-18 September 2021, EIA.

Mathiba G “Critical Assessment of the Whistle-blower Protection in the AU Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption: South Africa in Context” at the 5th Annual Conference of the Law and Development Network: “Beyond the Crisis: Challenges and Opportunities for Law and Development” 24-26 November 2021, LDRN, NMMU.

Mathiba G “The Potential of Asset Recovery in Deterring Corruption & Other Transnational Crimes: South African Perspective with insights from Bobroff v NDPP [2021]” at the 4th International Conference on the Right to Development: “Right to Development and Illicit Financial Flows from Africa” 1-2 November 2021, Centre for Human Rights, UFS.

Mathiba G “The mine community displacement and resettlement conundrum in South Africa” (co-presented with Mostert H) for the Property, Law & Society Handbook Project (virtual), the University of Melbourne, 17-19 June 2021.

Mathiba G “The role of traditional leaders in the proposed land expropriation without compensation discourse in South Africa” (co-presented with Lefenya KO) at the Conference on Traditional Leadership and Authority versus Local Government: “The Co-Existence of Traditional and Local Governance Structures in a Democratic Dispensation: Challenges and Successes”, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung & North-West University, 13-14 September 2018: Roots Potchefstroom.

Mathiba G “The descriptive historical evolution of land reform project in South Africa: The good and the bad” NWU Law Faculty Seminar, Mafikeng: 2018.

Professional body affiliation/membership

  • Scientific Network on Eviction and Housing Rights (SNEHR)
  • Young Property Law Forum (YPLF)
  • South African Association of Public Administration and Management (SAAPAM)
  • Golden Key Society