Court orders Minister of Police to help remove trespassers from Pretoria farm
The Minister of Police has been ordered to assist the sheriff of the court to remove trespassers and demolish their structures after they started invading a farm north of Pretoria on Monday.
The North Gauteng High Court granted the order on Friday afternoon, after the owners of the farm and lobby group AfriForum turned to it for relief. They claimed the SA Police Service had done nothing about the invasion.
The urgent application, which cited the Minister of Police and the station commander of Soshanguve police station as parties, was unopposed.
Dr Motodi Maserumule, who is one of the owners of the 120-hectare farm, told News24 that there was a clear sense of zero urgency on the police's part to do something about the land invasion, despite being on the scene.
"We started engaging them (the police) when there was nothing on the property to be removed. If they had just come at that stage and chased those people off, we won't be here. But it has dragged on and on," Maserumule said.
He added that, when he attempted to open a trespassing case, police refused to help him. Police opened a case and went to the farm only after AfriForum intervened, he added.
'I own the property'
AfriForum's head of community safety, Ian Cameron said the police have been conspicuous in their absence in protecting Maserumule's property, which is why they had no alternative but to approach the court for assistance.
When Maserumule was first notified that people had started invading his farm on Monday, he went to investigate and found a group of people on the property as well as a corrugated iron shack with the word "office" painted on it.
He approached the group of people, who first threatened him. Later they offered him a stand on his own land, Maserumule said as he laughed.
"When I got there on Monday, I pointed out to them that I own the property and I have papers for the farm. They were not willing to listen," Maserumule said.
"They offered to give me a 40-metre-by-40-metre stand."
He said that the stands were initially given out for free. People only had to pay R500 for the creation of a road. However, they were later charged R500 for a stand in addition to the fee for the road.
Maserumule said that by Thursday, there were 10 partially-constructed structures on the property and more people were clearing away vegetation on marked-out stands.
Maserumule, along with his business partners, Kgoshi Phaahla and Diphete Bopape, bought the farm in 2007 with the intention of developing it.