Cape Town - Jitters and expectations of land expropriation without compensation has seen a flood of court interdicts being sought in the high court to prevent land invasions or evict those already illegally occupying land.
Already, 37 farmers have sought interdicts after a pamphlet was circulated about possible land invasions by the Black First Land First Movement and several interdicts were sought by private property owners against possible land invasions, as well as by the City against land invaders in Khayelitsha. This as newly sworn-in President Cyril Ramaphosa said land reform was a key pillar of his presidency.
Economist Dawie Roodt said the protection of private property rights was at the centre of the rush to the courts. “The concern is over the protection of private property rights. The ANC is socialistic and don’t believe in this. The news of land expropriation without compensation has been widely publicised.
“People started to occupy land and the impression was created that it’s no longer wrong to do it. The impression was also created there is original sin that needed to be punished.
“I also have a problem with the police not acting when land invasions take place. It has become a trend and this could escalate into a flood.
“The danger of this action is that it would discourage investment and lead to ethnic and racial conflict. The situation can be remedied through a structured programme and strong leadership at the top to steer the process.”
Agri Western Cape chief executive Jannie Strydom said it was sad that private property owners and farmers had to approach the courts to get orders to protect their properties from illegal invasions.
“We are grateful that the courts grant interdicts in this regard. At this stage we are not panicking because in terms of the present law, it is unlawful to illegally occupy or invade a piece of land. As Agri SA and Western Cape, we don’t believe it necessary to amend the legislation because there are ways to address the issue of land distribution.”
Mayoral member for human settlements Malusi Booi condemned the land invasions.
He also warned that it could negatively impact investment and that harsh actions could be imposed by foreign governments should the farms of their citizens in South Africa not be protected.
On Thursday, two cases were before Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath. In the first, Asla Devco and Asla Construction applied for an interdict to stop people in the Strand from illegally occupying different sites.
The matter was postponed to Tuesday to allow advocate Thulasizwe Twalo to compile answering affidavits on behalf of the respondents and show why they should be allowed to stay on the land in question.
On Thursday, about 50 of those whose structures were razed to the ground several times last month protested outside court and said and they would turn up in great numbers.
They threatened to cause major disruptions should they lose the case.
In the second matter, an interdict was granted in favour of Milnerton Estates against those threatening and or intending, without consent, to enter or occupy the properties known as Sandown and Rivergate.
Brett Gavin Moore, director of Milnerton Estate, in his founding affidavit, said: “The current application has as its purpose the protection of the property through the issue of an order confirming that persons may not unlawfully seek to trespass upon and occupy the property which is currently vacant.
Booi said: “People need to realise that invasions delay the process of them getting houses.”
On Thursday, former Land Party member Loyiso Nkohla, representing those affected by the Strand interdict sought by the City, said they had moved on to the property three months before the election, and had been unlawfully evicted.