Related Rule
South Africa
Practice Relating to Rule 51. Public and Private Property in Occupied Territory
South Africa’s LOAC Manual (1996) states that soldiers must “respect civilians and their property”. 
South Africa, Presentation on the South African Approach to International Humanitarian Law, Appendix A, Chapter 4: International Humanitarian Law (The Law of Armed Conflict), National Defence Force, 1996, § 25(c).
South Africa’s LOAC Teaching Manual (2008) states:
Responsibilities during Occupation
The Occupying Power has all the responsibilities of the legitimate State. Its responsibilities include to:
- Allow and ensure the proper functioning of the administration of the territory in the same way as it was before the occupation. ([1907] Hague [Regulations] articles 43 and 48 and [1949] Geneva Convention [IV] articles 51, 54 and 56.) This includes:
- Respect civilian property. (Hague [Regulations] Articles 46 and 55.) 
South Africa, Advanced Law of Armed Conflict Teaching Manual, School of Military Justice, 1 April 2008, as amended to 25 October 2013, Learning Unit 2, pp. 156–158.
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in 2004, South Africa stated:
48. The Separation Wall, as described in detail in the report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (E/CN.4/2004/6), has resulted in vast expropriation of land and has destroyed homes, shops, schools, water networks and agricultural land belonging to Palestinians. These acts are expressly prohibited by Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which states that “any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations”.
49. The justification put forth by the Government of Israel for such a contravention of the aforementioned Article 53 and the construction of the Separation Wall itself, is that the purpose of the Separation Wall is for the security of Israel and such destruction or seizure of Palestinian property is demanded by the necessities of war, as permitted by Article 23 of the Hague Regulations of 1907. It must be made clear that the concept of “military necessity” does not release a state from the obligations of complying with international humanitarian law. The Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols have already struck the balance between the demands made on the law of the conduct of war and the requirements of humanity. 
South Africa, Written statement submitted to the ICJ, Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 30 January 2004, p. 19, §§ 48–49.