Illegal Occupiers on Portion 26

The legal battle between the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site Conservation Group and a West Rand district municipality regarding the alleged housing of "illegal" occupiers on this heritage site continued in the Pretoria High Court in July 2010. Judge Chris Botha referred the various issues to oral evidence, as it became apparent that there were many factual disputes between the parties. The conservation group earlier headed to court to try to stop what they believed was an invitation by the municipality for people to erect structures on portion 26 of the farm Kromdraai, which comprise the Cradle of Humankind, a World Heritage Site. The municipality, on the other hand, denied that it allowed people to move in, and stated that when it acquired the land in 2004, there were already about 43 families staying on the property. The conservation group, however, said it witnessed stands being demarcated for people to erect dwellings.

This resulted in Judge Pierre Rabie ordering in May - following an agreement by the parties in this regard - that all the dwellings on the property that were not occupied, including those that were partially completed, had to be removed. 

This, in turn, resulted in the parties heading back to court - this time following claims that despite the clear instructions from the municipality in this regard, the Red Ant Security Group and the sheriff of Randfontein demolished numerous structures that were not covered by the court order. The parties then reached a settlement in terms of which other than a small group of individuals who claimed they indeed occupied their shacks, none of the other shack erectors or new persons would be allowed to occupy the property. 

The matter was finalised on the 5th October 2011 when the COHWHS Association asked the court to make the agreement an order of the court. 

We thank the local community and all interested parties for their contributions.

History and Diary of Events

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First Court Order
13 May 2010

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Court Settlement
4 July 2011

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Final Court Order
11 October 2011

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