Assisted by minority rights movement AfriForum, the aggrieved owner of a farm near Onderstepoort in Pretoria issued summons this week against Bheki Cele, Minister of Police. The farmer says he needs to recover the costs and expenses related to an urgent eviction application in 2018 when the police failed to execute their duties during a landgrab that took place on the premises.
The police refused to assist Dr Motodi Maserumule in August last year by failing to arrest trespassers that unlawfully entered his land and started erecting structures.
Dr Maserumule approached AfriForum and obtained an urgent court order which instructed that the trespassers be removed, and that the police must cooperate with the sheriff in this regard. Dr Maserumule and AfriForum gave the Red Ants a mandate to help remove the trespassers and structures.
“AfriForum is becoming involved with cases such as these to ensure that the police are forced to do their work. We are hoping that this claim will serve as deterrent should the police in future hesitate to execute their constitutional mandate. AfriForum will supervise this litigation process in order to make the community aware of the fact that the slackness of the law enforcement authorities will not go by unnoticed. This summons will serve as a sword over the head of institutions that are tasked by the Constitution to protect citizens against crime. They need to execute their mandate or carry the consequences,” says Ian Cameron, AfriForum’s Head of Community Safety.
The summons was served on the minister. He has the opportunity whether to raise an objection against the claim or not. Then the process will be followed until a judge can make a decision about the matter.
“In the summons an additional request is made that the minister must also pay the legal costs associated with this action. If he thus attempts to file a poor written defence, and the claim succeeds, it will be an expensive exercise for the police. AfriForum believes that the police will, at the conclusion of this action, think twice before failing to execute their duty,” concludes Marnus Kamfer, Legal and Risk Manager for Community Safety at AfriForum.