Comment on the Unlawful Entry on Premises Bill

Issued by Adv Glynnis Breytenbach MP – DA Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development
23 Aug 2022 in News

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbite by Adv Glynnis Breytenbach MP.

Recently public comment was invited with regard to the Unlawful Entry on Premises Bill. This has given rise to inaccurate communications on social media platforms, and caused a great amount of concern with regard to the contents thereof.

To be clear, this is a Departmental Bill in its embryo stages. It has a long path to travel in the legislative process before it will be ready to be enacted into law. The purpose of the Bill is to repeal and replace the Trespass Act (no 8 of 1959), and to prohibit unlawful entry on premises.

The Public at large is encouraged to read the Bill carefully, and to comment thereon before 16 September 2022.

Videos are circulating which incorrectly states that according to the Bill, if someone trespasses on your property you are not allowed to defend yourself. The fact is that the Bill deals with unlawful entry to or on a property or premises, and provides for how and when such entry is deemed unlawful, and sets out what courses of action are appropriate in such circumstances. That is the limited scope of the Bill.

It should not be misconstrued with the right to defend one’s person or one’s property (or the person and or property of another) against a crime, and attack or an assault.

The right to self-defense is a common law right, not affected by the proposed Bill.

The circumstances surrounding self-defense are clearly set out in our law, and include the requirements that the attack / crime / assault should be in progress or reasonably perceived to be imminent, and that the mode of self-defense should not exceed the bounds of reasonableness, and must bear relation to the attack or perceived attack. The minimum amount of force must be used repel the threat or reasonably perceived threat and no more. Excessive force will exceed the bounds of reasonableness. Self-defense is only a defence against an attack / crime / assault or reasonably perceived attack / crime / assault or threat thereof if in progress or imminent. Ex post facto use of force is not self-defense.

Concerns should be submitted in writing for the attention of Ms A Botha, The Director-General: Justice and Constitutional Development Private Bag X 81 Pretoria 0001; emailed to; or faxed to 012 406 4632. Further information can be obtained from Ms Botha at 012 406 4762.