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Police inaction blamed for land grabs in Olievenhoutbosch

The case was argued before the court’s Palace of Justice in Pretoria on Wednesday sparked by a recent series of land invasions in and around Gauteng.

FILE: Community members from Olievenhoutbosch gathered outside a local church to share their service delivery concerns with President Cyril Ramaphosa on 11 March 2018. Picture: Pelane Phakgadi/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – As the country’s leaders continue to debate on a section of the Constitution that deals with land expropriation, a lawyer representing the owners of a piece of land in Olievenhoutbosch has argued in the North Gauteng High Court that police inaction has allowed invaders to continuously try to occupy land illegally.

The case was argued before the court’s Palace of Justice in Pretoria on Wednesday sparked by a recent series of land invasions in and around Gauteng.

Lawyers for the police say officers do try and arrest invaders but always find that they’ve fled.

Zehir Omar represents Sikander Mohammed and other owners of a piece of land in Olievenhoutbosch in Centurion where attempted land invasions have been taking place since the beginning of this month.

Omar has told the court that his clients fear they might not be able to protect their land if police don’t help them.

They want the court to compel police to urgently arrest land invaders.

Omar says the crime of trespassing is transformed to a civil wrong the moment a shack is erected on a property because by then police lose their jurisdiction.

This means property owners are only left with the option of obtaining an order of eviction from a civil court, which can cost thousands of rands.

Respondents in this case include the Police Ministry, the provincial police commissioner and the station commander at the Olievenhoutbosch police station.

Judgment has been reserved.