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Hopefield farm owner yet to restore connection to basic services

The Western Cape High Court had ordered farm owner Francois Turner to reconnect basic services of electricity and water.

The Western Cape High Court had ordered farm owner Francois Turner to reconnect basic services of electricity and water.

Published Mar 20, 2023

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Cape Town - Despite a spoliation order to have basic services reconnected at their farm residence, a Hopefield family says they continue to live in the dark while the farmowner continues to make their lives unbearable with alleged harassment and intimidation.

The Western Cape High Court had ordered farm owner Francois Turner to reconnect basic services of electricity and water - of which he had been suspected of disrupting himself to make the living situation of couple Christine Ntintelo and Victor Macingwane uncomfortable so that they would leave the farm.

Turner’s appeal against the spoliation order was unsuccessful and he was further ordered to have the services reconnected within five days after the order was handed down on March 8.

Ntintelo told the Cape Times that their services had still not been reconnected.

“Macingwane is currently also bedridden after suffering a stroke. We are being done a great injustice by him.

It is malicious because he has left us without basic services for such a long time which means that he thinks nothing of us. We are hurt by all this action taken by Turner in efforts to get us off the farm,” said Ntintelo.

The couple has lived and worked on the farm since 1995 with their children and according to the Hopefield Magistrate’s Court judgment were “in possession of incorporeal right of electricity and the incorporeal right of the use of water”.

the use of water”.

Their rights, according to the family, have however been violated by Turner who bought the farm six years ago from the previous owner but on August 4, 2020 terminated Ntintelo and Macingwane’s employment with no reasons given.

This while Turner has also turned to the Hopefield Magistrates Court where an eviction order application is currently pending.

Similar to the findings of the lower court, the high court’s judgment read: “There can be no doubt that the court a quo was correct in finding that the respondents were despoiled of their rights to use water and electricity and hence the spoliation order against the appellants.

In our view, this finding cannot be faulted. Crucially, Turner no longer wanted the respondents on the farm. He followed due process to retrench them in terms of section 189 of the LRA. On November 14, 2020, he told the respondents, in (police) presence, that he would cut off their water and electricity supply.

“That evening at 6pm, the water and electricity supply was disconnected from the respondents’ compound.

Subsequent to that, the appellants instituted eviction proceedings against the respondents to have them evicted from the farm...A compendium of all the facts points to one direction only: that Turner disconnected the water and electricity supply of the respondents to exert pressure on them to vacate the farm on their own.

“Evidently, the termination of the water and electricity supply had a catastrophic effect on the respondents’ lives.

It violated their rights to inherent dignity and the right to water access as envisaged in sections 10 and 27, respectively, of the Bill of Rights,” the judgment read.

Turner did not respond to requests for comment.

Cape Times