McCarthy Attorneys Inc


Building Without Authority

We have become increasingly aware of instances of employees (or ex-employees) and /or occupiers building without permission of the landowner. 

This problem is compounded by the speed with which buildings can be built on a farm, sometimes without the landowner’s knowledge. Buildings can literally be started and finished within a few weeks and sometimes as quickly as a few days. 

McCarthy & Associates Attorneys have had to proceed to court recently and more frequently, among other things: 

  1.  Interdict the continued building of unauthorized structures; and/or
  2. Obtain orders to demolish structures.

Such litigation is emotional and can be expensive. 


  1. The landowner (preferably via a third party) must communicate the accommodation rules (in English and Zulu) to employees/occupiers, which rules include no building without authority;
  2. Landowners should record the status of housing/buildings annually.  This can be done through photographs taken of each household along with Google Earth photos;
  3. Landowners should conduct monthly inspections of the housing on their properties;
  4. If there is evidence of a site being cleared or building materials being brought onto the property, the landowner must IMMEDIATELY:
  • Communicate verbally to the employee/occupier who is building that they may not build; and 
  • Confirm this in writing (in English and Zulu) with proof of service; and 
  • Photograph the site/building materials/building operation; and 
  • Seek legal advice. 

Please also see our previous article in this regard, Problems and Solutions for Employee Accommodation  (24 May 2022)  

If you have any questions about other Labour or Land issues, contact McCarthy & Associates Attorneys on (033) 266 6170 or  via email