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Schulphoek land invasion: Court case still pending

Illegal structures have been popping up like mushrooms on a piece of land adjacent to Hermanus Beach Club complex known as Dubai.

Marius van der Westhuizen, manager of the Hermanus Beach Club residential complex, says the sound of chainsaws and hammering can be heard day and night as more Milkwood trees are cut down to make space for even more illegal structures. Smoke from fires made to clear sites for building structures can also be seen wafting in the air.

“Last Thursday 18 October, the land invaders started fires along the north-western walls of the complex. The fires raged out of control . . . The smoke was thick and dense and made breathing difficult,” he stated.

This combined with several other factors including damages suffered during the riots in March and a loss of income as result of accommodation reservations being cancelled due to safety concerns, Van der Westhuizen said, led to the decision to launch an urgent High Court application.

The application requests that the court grant a permanent order to prevent further land invasions and to direct the owners of Schulphoek land and the Overstrand Municipality to take the necessary steps to prevent further land invasion.

The respondents – “Those attempting to invade Schulphoek Land”, Rabie Property Group, Cavcor and Overstrand Munici-pality – have until 6 November to state reasons why the application should not be made a permanent order of the court.

In an affidavit handed in to the High Court Van der Westhuizen states that when illegal structures were first erected on the land adjacent to Beach Club he “immediately reported” the matter to Law Enforcement.

Law Enforcement officers did an inspection of the site two days later, says Van der Westhuizen, but no action was taken.

Municipal manager Coenie Groenewald confirmed that Law Enforcement officials were deployed to the scene to safeguard the firefighters and to prevent further invasion on the piece of land earmarked for the develop-ment of a desalination plant.

“It’s not that we don’t want people to have land,” said Van der Westhuizen. “We just want the matter to be dealt with in the proper manner. We launched this court action to safeguard the property and the investments of the property owners.

“The illegal land invasion on the land so close to Beach Club has led to a decrease in property values. It has also led to huge expenses as we have had to implement extra security measures such as 24-hour surveillance cameras,” said Van der Westhuizen.

Groenewald confirmed that court documents were served on the municipality on Monday.

“The matter is in the hands of our attorneys,” he stated.

Leslie Viljoen, of Cavcor which is listed as Respondent 3 on the court documents, says: “I confirm that The Rabie Property Group and Cavcor jointly own the Schulphoek property. No court order has been served on any of the land owners,” he said.

He added that Rabie Property Group have done “everything legally possible” to protect their rights. Rabcav however did not specify what measures they have taken to safeguard the property.

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