The North West High Court has allowed a number of state farm residents to appeal an injunction barring them from residing on the 10 farms, valued at more than R50 million.
In a judgment issued last July, Judge Samkelo Gura also ordered farmers to remove their livestock within two weeks of the date of the order.
The court had also barred the occupiers from intervene in the process of land allocation to third parties by the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.
The government had purchased the farms from existing commercial farmers with the aim of redistributing them to skilled emerging farmers in the province. This was scheduled to happen in August 2019.
However, the presence of the people who occupied the state farms in 2019 made it impossible for the department to hand over these farms undisturbed to the successful beneficiaries.
Inmates claimed they received permission to occupy the farms from department officials at a meeting held at one of the farms, an allegation denied by the department. In his ruling last July, the judge agreed with the department that the meeting did not take place.
In their motion for leave to appeal, heard last November, the occupiers argued that the final interdict issued by the Supreme Court was tantamount to an eviction order.
In his decision on Thursday, when the ministry submitted its request in August 2019, Gura said the squatters had already occupied the farms.
p>< p>“When the court issued the interdict on July 12, 2021, [the occupiers] had already been on these farms for a long time. It seems that the only viable way to enforce this ruling is to forcibly evict [them] from the said properties,” Gura said.
Gura said a constitutional court ruling found that a Interdict effect of an eviction order violates the provisions of the Law on the Prevention of Illegal Evictions and Illegal Land Occupations when implemented. This law provides procedures for the eviction of unlawful residents and prohibits unlawful evictions.
“I believe there is a reasonable possibility that another court would find that the court order of July 12, 2021 has the effect of an eviction order and is void.”
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