Unlawful occupation of property and the stay of eviction proceedings
To Build|Volume 11 / Issue 1 - March 2021
Implications for property owners and developers: the unlawful occupation of property.
Bryan C. Hack

The occupation of buildings or land without the consent of the owner is a subject of contentious debate in not only South Africa but across the world. In South Africa there is a broader historic perspective recently set out again in the Constitutional Court judgement of Economic Freedom Fighters and Another v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Another1 where Constitutional Court Justice Majiedt, while pending the minority judgement, made these pertinent comments, at paragraph [155]:

The devastation wreaked by the repressive colonial and apartheid regimes’ deprivation of land undeniably requires proper redress. Land deprivation occurred right from the time the Dutch settlers first set foot on the southern tip of our country and encountered its first peoples, the Khoisan. It continued unabated in brutal fashion and was formalised in the abominable Native Land Act. 179 The forced removals and evictions that followed left an indelible scar. Land deprivation goes to the very heart of penury and the loss of human dignity, equality and justice. Malcolm X famously said that “land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice and equality.

Robust public debate, heated political discourse and even fiery rhetoric about the land question must be afforded its deserved space in our vibrant, nascent democracy. Society must be exposed to and be tolerant of different views, and unpopular or controversial views must never be silenced.

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