Saai demands answers from SAPS about trespassing

The Southern African Agri Initiative (Saai) is taking action against increasing incidents of trespassing. This agricultural interest network has sent a formal application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to the South African Police Service (SAPS) to obtain more information and statistics on trespassing.

The SAPS is hereby forced to provide reports and statistics on the number of reported incidents of trespassing. They must also make a summary available of the number of police investigations done per province after trespassing incidents. Saai is also seeking answers about the number of prosecutions brought against trespassers, the convictions against trespassers and the sentencing records of trespassers.

“Through this, Saai wants to expose the ineffectiveness of the SAPS’s measures to prevent trespassing,” says Theo de Jager, Executive Director of Saai. “That is why Saai is forcing the SAPS to also provide their policies, guidelines and directives to curb trespassing.”

This PAIA application forms part of the ongoing pressure that Saai wants to apply to make their policy influence – around the issue of trespassing – succeed. There is an increase in incidents of trespassing and land grabs, while Saai believes that there is also an increasing failure by the SAPS to act against this. According to Saai, trespassing laws must be tightened and enforced more strictly and therefore the organisation is taking legal action to hold the authorities accountable to maintain law and order.

“It is our mission to protect our members’ rights and that is why we are taking action against the increasing incidents of trespassing on private property. The violations of property rights and personal safety that are threatened with such incidents is a cause for concern and we want to stand up for family farmers,” concludes De Jager.

In 2022, a draft law, namely the Unlawful Access to Premises Bill, was proposed by the Department of Justice and Correctional Services. However, it has not yet been sent to parliament, so the Trespassing Act of 1959 still applies.