GEORGE NEWS - Residents on the outskirts of Blanco expressed their relief about their victory in a legal battle of a year and a half to force a new property owner in the area to restore their right of way over his land.
The George Magistrate's Court ordered Karsten Eggers to open two gates he had erected to block thoroughfare to people in the area who have been using the road for years. He bought the property, Gratitude Farm, from Outeniqua Orchids in 2016 after a subdivision that led to the servitude road being the boundary between these two properties. Since November 2017, access for regular users of the road became increasingly limited, and was eventually cut off.
A series of spoliation order threats to re-establish access proved to be fruitless.
A temporary order granted by the court in February against the respondent was made final last week. Eggers was also ordered to pay the legal costs of the applicants, namely the neighbours Michelle and Elardus Behrens, and Andre Lewarne of Rainbow Riders, a riding school.
In Lewarne's application, the court granted right of way to her alone, so the Behrens had to launch a second application.
After the court finding Eggers maintained that "neither the Behrens nor Andre Lewarne has any right to use our road. Unfortunately, local prosecutors and magistrates are not helping us to keep criminals out of our property. The courts are placing the onus on us to get the necessary interdicts. We are therefore busy approaching the High Court."
Michelle Behrens said, "We are utterly relieved after such a long time, so much unnecessary expenditure and time wasted. We see it also as a service to the community who could not take the matter to court themselves, because the advantages are for everyone, also farm workers, who have been using the road for many years. We feel we are also contributing to the security of the area as the neighbourhood watch and police can once again patrol freely and move faster between the farms."
Lewarne, whose clients could not get to the property she was renting adjacent to the respondent's place, said she decided to find another property to rent. She moved her horses on Monday this week to a property on the R102. "We have had a few months of bitter battles with access to the public servitude denied, being locked out and unable to get to our horses, even having to re-direct our veterinarian who was called out for an emergency. But we are happy with the new premises and very excited about the potential here."
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