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Trespass

Bill Posters Will Be Prosecuted.

So read the sign which appeared all over the London underground, at least when I frequented it in the early 1980s. The mischief aimed at, of course, were the unauthorized notices, advertisements and the like mosaicking the walls everywhere. Amusingly, someone had scrawled across several of these warnings: ‘Bill Posters is innocent!’

Well, at least, in South Africa, trespassers will be prosecuted. The Trespass Act 19591 makes certain of this.

  1. Unless you have lawful reason, it is a criminal offence to enter or be upon any land, without the permission of the lawful occupier, owner or person in charge of the land.2

  2. It is also an offence to enter, or be in a building (or part of a building) without the permission of the lawful occupier,3 owner or person in charge of the building.4

  1. As amended; the latest amendment was effected by Act 62 of 1997. 

  2. Section 1(1)(a) and (b). 

  3. By the way, consent by the ‘servant of the lawful occupier of the land on which that building is situated’ does not count. See Section 1(2) of the Act. 

  4. Section 1(1)(a) and (b).