Parliament has drafted a new Bill, the Unlawful Entry on Premises Bill, which is open to the public for comments.  The Unlawful Entry on Premises Bill will replace the old and outdated Trespassing Act which was enacted in 1959.[1]

The Purpose of The Proposed Bill

The purpose of the Bill is to fight trespassing beyond land and building. The Bill provides for a broader explanation of the word premises. The word premises includes; “means any— (a) land, including— (i) enclosed land;  (ii) (iii) (b) land not enclosed or which was previously enclosed, or partially enclosed; foreshore and land covered by water; and anything on the land, including— (i) any building or other permanent or temporary structure; (ii) (iii) (iv) a ship or vessel, train, railway carriage, vehicle or aircraft, except while in operation; a trailer, caravan, motorhome or a portable structure designed or used as a residence, for shelter or recreation; and a sheet of water[2]. The proposed Bill would give the lawful occupier or owner more protection than the Trespassing Act. [3]

The proposed bill is “sterner” than the Trespassing Act in that when an unlawful occupier enters the premises without permission, the owner can ask the intruder to leave or phone the South African Police Services to remove the intruder. Should the intruder be found guilty of trespassing, a fine or a sentence of 2 years can be imposed a sentence of 2 years.

The proposed Bill makes provisions in a scenario whereby you become aware of the intruder, you must request the parties to leave, and should they refuse to leave, then contact the SAPS for assistance. The proposed Bill also gives certain powers to the SAPS to tackle intruders.

Once the proposed Bill becomes an Act, it gives the lawful occupant limited powers to do something as soon as you become aware of an intruder.

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[1] Trespassing Act 6 of 1959.

[2] Unlawful Entry on Premises Bill, 2022.

[3] Act 6 of 1959.