Cape Town - A Hopefield farmer will have to wait to hear if he can legally disconnect basic services to residents who live on his farm, after he appealed the decision of the Hopefield Magistrate’s Court which prohibited him from doing so.
Farm owner Francois Turner launched the appeal application at the Western Cape High Court recently, where judgment was reserved after arguments were heard from the parties.
The Cape Times previously reported that Turner was accused of harassing the family who live on a portion of land on his farm, following a failed bid to evict the family.
Turner had also cut the water and electricity supply to homes on the farm, which he was ordered not to do by the courts. Turner allegedly ignored the order and would not return the supply to the house, where the couple have lived since 1995.
In the high court, Turner argued that “cable theft by an unknown third party caused the loss of electricity and water to the respondents’ house” and that the court erred when it found that Turner was responsible for damaged electrical and water infrastructure.
He further argued that the court misdirected itself in ordering that he was liable to fix the damages.
The lower court order, by relief magistrate Cyril Kroutz detailed that farm residents and couple Christine Ntintelo and Victor Macingwane (now defendants in the high court matter) were “in possession of incorporeal right of electricity and the incorporeal right of the use of water”.
“(They) have been deprived of their possession of these incorporeal rights ... Knowing however that (Turner) no longer wants the applicants on the farm, it is not farfetched to assume that Turner will be inert to fix the infrastructure...
“It can be argued that (Turner) himself damaged the cables knowing what the consequences would be so as to make life difficult and unpleasant for (Ntintelo and Macingwane) to remain on the farm, and to choose themselves to vacate,” Kroutz had said.
The couple, who live on the farm with their daughter and grandchildren, submitted in arguments that they have been without water for more than 800 days after it was first disconnected on November 5, 2020.
“In summary the respondents’ version is that on 4 November 2020, Turner tried to unlawfully evict their adult daughter and when he was told by SAPS that he required a court order and that they would not assist him in his attempted unlawful eviction he threatened to cut off their water and electricity. Later that same day their water and electricity supply were in fact terminated. The following day, on 5 November 2020, Turner told Macingwane that he had cut off the water and electricity,” the couple argued via counsel.
Attempts to get further comment from Turner and Ntintelo were unsuccessful by deadline.