Sir ~ I am writing from Stoneybrooke farm in Tierpoort. We have a guest farm with six self-catering houses and provide accommodation for wedding guests at neighbouring venues and offer city dwellers the real farm experience.
On June 1 a couple (name supplied) ~ he’s apparently a lawyer ~ moved into one of our cottages with two children, twelve cats and two dogs. They paid a 50% deposit as requested by me.
Judging by their meagre possessions and apparent unemployment I became concerned when payment on their accommodation became overdue.
All messages begging payment were met with promises, threats and verbal abuse. After six weeks of non-payment I discovered that he had changed the lock on the door because I had threatened to lock him out. The locksmith charged a fortune to change the locks but didn’t lock the premises as I’d anticipated. That evening they came home and walked into the house.
The next morning I went in with my staff on the pretext of changing the bed linen and cleaning the carpets. The husband wasn’t there but the wife started pushing me around and later bragged to the police that she had yanked me by the scruff of the neck to the front door.
However with the help of my staff we managed to remove the bed linen, DSTV decoder, and heater and floor rugs. My husband also unscrewed the front door.
That night the Welbekend police delivered a 25 page long court application instructing us to restore everything to the way it was. (Which we did)
The crux of these events indicates that this man utilised every loophole in South African law to exercise his rights. As I write to you (September), no payment has yet been received.
I have sought legal counsel which has been estimated to cost me R10 000. According to Travelground, Safarinow and other legal experts they have never encountered such blatant abuse of the law. An eviction order will take more than two weeks and currently I have no recourse or hope of recouping my losses.
I am writing to you with the hope that you may warn your readers that the law is on the side of the ‘squatter’ and not the property owner.