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Farm evictions

Farm eviction battle in Concourt

By | Eviction news, Farm evictions, Homeless

Reprinted from the Star, by Bongani Nkosi – 2021-09-22

Johannesburg – The Constitutional Court has been asked to come to the rescue of a man who has allegedly been evicted along with his family by farmers he worked for over the last 21 years.

Alias Mtolo, his wife, Maheneng Mtolo, and their eight children found themselves homeless after allegedly being evicted from the farm in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, without a notice.

The Mtolos launched urgent court applications against Theunis Christoffel Lombard and his wife Maria Helentje Lombard following their alleged eviction.

The legal battle between the Mtolos and the Lombards reached the apex court yesterday.

Representing the Mtolos, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC told the justices the matter was brought before them following an unfavourable judgment by a South Gauteng High Court judge.

In this contested judgment, Judge Fiona Dippenaar struck the Mtolos’ application from the roll. They had approached her to seek an order compelling the Lombards to comply with an earlier order.

In that order, Judge Michael Antonie directed the Lombards to return the farm house to the possession of the Mtolos and make it fit for human occupation.

Central in the matter were also allegations that the Lombards had not fixed the house that was damaged during the “eviction” of the Mtolos.

Ngcukaitobi called on the Constitutional Court to interfere with Judge Dippenaar’s ruling.

“Firstly we say that Judge Dippenaar did not consider the implications of homelessness on the part of the Mtolo family, which itself would be an infringement of Section 26 of the Constitution,” he said.

Secondly, Ngcukaitobi said, Judge Dippenaar failed to consider whether the Lombards had complied with Judge Antonie’s order that they should fix the house.

“The facts show that the structure or the house of the Mtolos is a dangerous structure and it is not fit for human occupation,” Ngcukaitobi said.

“To sum up (this matter), we’re dealing with a case of homelessness because of a structure that constitutes a death trap.”

He referred to a report by the Emfuleni local municipality that described the four room house as hazardous.

It said the house’s corrugated iron sheets were not properly installed and risked being blown away by wind.

Ngcukaitobi said a just and equitable ruling in this matter would be one that ordered the Lombards to fix the house and allow the Mtolos back in.

“(It) is not punishment for the eviction that we’re asking for,” he said.

“But what we’re asking for is what would be just and equitable in the case of a farmworker who has worked for the same family for 21 years and then got kicked out without notice.”

Advocate Nadia Smit, representing the Lombards, denied that the Mtolos were evicted, or that they did not have alternative accommodation after vacating the farm house.

“They misrepresented themselves and they misled the court, not only this court but also the high court, by saying they are homeless,” she told the apex court.

“It’s evident from pictures attached to our answering affidavit in this court and before Judge Dippenaar and before Judge Antonie that in fact they had alternative accommodation. They weren’t homeless.”

Smit also denied that Judge Antonie’s judgment was not complied with. She said the house was fixed but the Mtolos had not returned. “We never asked them to vacate.”

Judgment was reserved.


For further information

Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a Cape Town law firm of specialist eviction lawyers, now operating in Johannesburg and Durban, helping both landlords and tenants with the eviction process. Contact one of our eviction attorneys on 086 099 5146 or simon@sdlaw.co.za if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

Further reading:

Black emerging farmers evicted from state-owned farms in North West

By | Eviction news, Eviction notice, Eviction orders, Evictions, Farm evictions
A judge has given black emerging farmers in some parts of North West two weeks to remove their livestock from the farms and that they should be evicted if they failed to leave. File Picture: Sandile Ndlovu
A judge has given black emerging farmers in some parts of North West two weeks to remove their livestock from the farms and that they should be evicted if they failed to leave. File Picture: Sandile Ndlovu

Johannesburg – A judge has ordered the forceful removal of a group of emerging black farmers who occupied several state-owned farms in parts of North West.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development bought the farms from white farmers in 2019 for redistribution purposes.

A number of farmers occupied them within months after the government paid out millions of rand to the previous owners. These were largely livestock farmers.

The ministry led by Thoko Didiza took a group of 21 farmers to the North West High Court in a bid to evict them from the farms intended for redistribution to successful black applicants.

Judge Samkelo Gura found that the farmers had occupied the farms without permission.

The farmers testified that they occupied the farms with permission from the previous farm owners and officials of the department.

Judge Gura found otherwise: “Almost all previous owners of these farms have filed confirmatory affidavits to the (ministry’s) replying affidavit. They deny that they ever gave any of the respondents permission to occupy or to graze their livestock on the land,” he wrote in the judgment.

“Therefore, the respondents were dishonest to (the) court…”

Judge Gura heard from the farmers that they decided to move their livestock on to the farms after many unfulfilled promises by officials over many years.

The judge described the group as emerging farmers from villages spread throughout North West.

Parts of the judgment read as though Judge Gura was sympathetic to the group’s difficulties in getting the government to allocate them farms.

“The experience of the opposing respondents tell of gross irregularities in the manner the applicant has gone about allocating land,” he said.

“A significant number of the farms in and surrounding the villages where the opposing respondents reside are still operated by white farmers.

“Many of the opposing respondents have made numerous unsuccessful applications for agricultural land allocation. They do not know the reasons for their applications not being successful.”

However, it boiled down to whether the farmers occupied the farms legally and at no disadvantage to those whose applications were approved. Judge Gura said the government intended to lease the farms to black farmers after a rigorous selection process.

“The respondents admit that none of them holds any lease agreement with the government over these farms,” he said.

“They are therefore grazing their livestock and utilising the land for their benefit free of charge. They refuse to vacate the properties.”

He gave the farmers two weeks to remove their livestock from the farms. They should be evicted if they failed to leave.

Reprinted from IOL

Some links added by SD Law

For further information

Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a Cape Town law firm of specialist eviction lawyers, now operating in Johannesburg and Durban, helping both landlords and tenants with the eviction process. Contact one of our eviction attorneys on 086 099 5146 or simon@sdlaw.co.za if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

Further Reading:

SABC News exposé on land eviction yields positive results

By | Eviction news, Eviction orders, Evictions, Farm evictions

The Department of Land Reform has successfully managed to acquire permanent accommodation for 12 families who were evicted by the owner of a farm near Ventersdorp in the North West.

The group – comprising of 51 members, including 20 children –  with all their belongings were evicted almost two months ago, and were forced to spend two nights on the street.

They are currently being accommodated in a community hall at Tshing township in Ventersdorp.

The plight of the families was exposed by SABC News two months ago. Since then, both national and provincial government authorities have intervened.

Efforts to secure permanent accommodation for them, seems to have yielded positive results.

The Department of Land Reform has managed to purchase a 205 hectare farm in Hartebeesfontein near Klerksdorp worth R1.4 million.

The Department’s Director for Tenure and Reforms, Richard Sebolai, explains: “We have identified a property by the name of Hartebeesfontein, it’s in extend of 205 hectares. We have already finalised all the processes of acquiring this property. We have signed sale agreements, we have submitted your guarantees to the conveyers who have been appointed by the owner of the property. Our branch special land use management have already drawn a plan which actually shows where the settlement is going to be.”

The provincial human settlements department is also on board. Its Chief Director, Tshepo Phetlhu, says they are assisting the affected families by building them temporary houses.

“We looked at our programme and we said let us assist the 12 families that are evicted through a programme called the emergency housing programme. To that end we then appointed service providers to do same, which as we speak the service providers are on site. They started to construct houses and we are hoping that they will conclude soon.”

Commitment to providing basic services

Matlosana Local Municipality Ward councillor, Mathapelo Seitisho, says her municipality will provide basic services to those relocated.

“We will just provide our community with water, sanitation and also electricity, because we are still using the temporary structures. Where there is a need for permanent structures, we will also be there,” says Seitisho.

Spokesperson for the evicted workers is 54-year-old, Julius Moeketsi.

He has expressed their gratitude for the intervention.

“I am very happy because that is what we really needed, as our living conditions in that hall are very bad particularly during this winter period.”

Government officials are optimistic that the relocation of these families will be completed late next month.

Reprinted from SABCNEWS (emphasis by SD Law*)

 

Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a Cape Town law firm of specialist eviction lawyers, now operating in Johannesburg and Durban, helping both landlords and tenants with the eviction process. Contact one of our eviction attorneys on 086 099 5146 or simon@sdlaw.co.za if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

Further reading: