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Unlawful Entry On Premises Bill Set to Reform South African Trespassing Laws

16 August 2022

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has drafted a bill to repeal and replace the Trespass Act, No 6 of 1959 (“The Trespass Act) which will also prohibit unlawful entry on premises.

This is in line with Minister of Justice and Correctional Services pronounce when tabling his budget speech to parliament for the 2021/22 financial year.

Minister Lamola said some pieces of legislation which are not overtly unconstitutional, unjust or anti-democratic, nonetheless still formed part of a suite of legislative enactments designed to foster the policies of apartheid, have survived.

Minister Lamola went on to say: “The continued existence of these laws in our statute book is not compatible with our Constitutional order. We will lead the process to review and repeal these statutes. At the same time, great care should be taken to ensure that the abrogation of these statutes does not leave or create a lacuna in the law.”

The  Trespassing Act, No. 6 of 1959 is an example of the legislation which the Minister referred to.  The Trespassing  Act has been identified as a piece of colonial/apartheid era legislation as it was originally designed to combat trespassing, publications and conduct engendering hostility between certain population groups. The Trespassing Act has therefore lost its relevance in our constitutional democracy.

The proposed new bill to replace the act is: Unlawful Entry on Premises.

DOJCD intends to introduce this bill  to repeal and replace the Trespassing Act, No. 6 of 1959 (“the Trespassing Act”).

The Bill aims to prohibit unlawful entry on premises, and to provide for matters connected therewith. Among other things, it provides for the offence of unlawful entry and the penalties to be imposed if a person is found to be guilty of the offence; the duty to inform an intruder of unlawful entry; the powers of the police and defences to the offence of unlawful entry.

This bill has been duly published for public comment and can be accessed on departmental website as follows: https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/invitations/20220812-InviteToComment-UnlawfulEnteringOnPremisesBill.pdf

Comments on the Bill must be submitted to Ms A Botha, on or before 16 September 2022. The contact details are:
(a) The Director-General: Justice and Constitutional Development, Private Bag X 81, Pretoria, 0001
Marked for the attention of Ms A Botha; or
(b) E-mail address: AlBotha@justice.gov.za; or
(c) Fax nr: 012 406 4632.

Issued By The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services

Enquiries: Chrispin Phiri
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services
Cell: 081 781 2261