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WCLawyer, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 15603
Experience:  L.LB (UOVS)
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Please refer to me as Farmer. My neighbor wants to erect a

Customer Question

Dear Sir Please refer to me as Farmer. My neighbor wants to erect a game fence on the border between us. The fence will run through a deep valley/ravine with steep sides which will make the initial cleaning of a strip 1.5 times the height of the trees on my side of the fence a very costly operation. The annual maintenance of this strip (cutting/chemical spraying sprouting trees) will have to be done manually as no tractor with a chopper or spray tank can drive there. My extensive small stock farming operation cannot carry such an initial cost or the annual maintenance of the strip. I realize that it is only expected of a neighbor to contribute half the cost of a standard cattle fence and not half the cost of a game fence. Keeping strips clean both sides of a cattle fence is not done in this area, due to the high cost of such maintenance. He indicated that he will claim any damages from me if fire from my side damage the fence. Can a neighbor force me to pay half the erection cost of a cattle fence and future maintenance of such a game fence on me if the threat implies far greater potential cost than damage to a cattle fence and the maintenance of the strip on my side over very difficult terrain will be an unbearable financial burden for me? Farmer
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Customer: What type of detail do you require? Farmer
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  WCLawyer replied 1 year ago.

Good morning.

You are actually not obligated to contribute to the fence. Section 11 of the Fencing Act says the following:

11. Alteration of boundary fences.—An owner may at any time alter any boundary fence in respect of his holding so as to make it a fence of a superior type: Provided that the owner of the adjoining holding separated by such fence shall not be liable to contribute to the alteration unless and until he derives beneficial use from the type of the fence as altered.

So you would only have to contribute if you too, start to keep game for commercial purposes.

Whether you are obligated to have a fire path on your land to protect the fence should be cleared up at your local fire station/municipality.

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