Category

Farm evictions

Evicted families stuck in Paarl caravan park for a year

By | Eviction news, Farm evictions, Uncategorized

About 52 families have been living in green canvas tents for more than a year at New Orleans camping site in Paarl South, GroundUp reports. 

They were evicted from farms in the surrounding Cape Winelands, including Simondium and Wellington.

The Drakenstein Municipality has offered the campsite as emergency accommodation, but is unable to say when the families can be moved to suitable accommodation.

Evictions in the broader Cape Winelands and in Drakenstein Municipality have created a crisis. At least 20 000 people are at risk of eviction on Drakenstein farms. 

“When the day-campers leave, we go and check for a piece of meat or other leftovers so our children have something to eat,” said Elsabe Goeieman, one of the people living in the caravan park.

“Sometimes they [day visitors] feel sorry for us and give us their leftover foods.”

Eviction

Her family, together with most of the families in the park, were moved to the New Orleans camp after being evicted from a farm in Simondium known as Die Blou Huis on April 11, 2018.

GroundUp met Goeieman sitting outside on a weathered couch with her daughter and three other residents.

“Most of us are unemployed now because we used to work seasonally on farms around Simondium. We are really struggling… but what can we do?” she said.

Goeieman and her husband share a tent with their four children and two-month-old grandchild.

Inside, the family have placed makeshift partitions of plastic sheeting and material.

“It gets so hot inside in summer, so we would rather sit outside with the small baby. In winter, the wind blows through the holes in the tents and the tents flood when it rains and our things get damaged … There are also a few people with TB and living in tents doesn’t help,” she said.

Goeieman said that since moving to the park, she had not been able to find a school for her 15-year-old daughter, Michelle. Michelle’s old school was about eight kilometres away from where they lived, and she would walk to school. She was forced to drop out a few weeks after they moved to the park.

Goeieman said that for months after being moved to the park, the children stayed home. Now, the younger children attend New Orleans Primary School, just a stone’s throw away from the park.

“We moved here in April, so we struggled to get our children into schools. The younger children got places, but not all the high schoolers. My child would love to go back, but when I went in January, no one could take her,” said Goeieman.

When the group were first moved to the park, Goeieman said, they were told the tents were temporary and they would be moved to houses within months.

Evicted families in New Orleans camp

Elsabe Goeieman and her husband having been sharing a tent with their four children and two-month-old grandchild for a year, since being evicted from a farm in Simondium. 

“Drakenstein [Municipality] said they would build us Nutec [fibre cement board] houses, but we are still waiting. We have no idea when we will move… The only upside to living here is that we have electricity and running water,” she said.

The group shares the park public toilets with day-campers.

A man living in the park, who identified himself only as Mr Scheepers, said: “Winters are a problem for us… Many of the tents blew over last year and we had to help people in the middle of the night put them back up. So imagine what will happen this winter.”

Billy Claasen of the Rural Farm Workers Development Organisation said the situation was unacceptable. “The sewerage system is under severe pressure due to the influx of people there. People complain about the conditions there and no one listens.”

Claasen accused the municipality of using the park as a “dumping ground” for people evicted from surrounding areas instead of providing “dignified” accommodation.

Gerald Esau, director of Community Services at Drakenstein Municipality, said its emergency housing plans had been brought to a halt by opposition from the community.

“An emergency housing project with improved basic services is being constructed in an area called Schoongezicht. Unfortunately, it was recently invaded by the surrounding community who refuse that the evicted people be accommodated accommodated there,” he said.

New Orleans

The Drakenstein Municipality has offered the New Orleans campsite as emergency accommodation for people evicted from farms but it is unclear when the families can be moved to suitable accommodation.

“Drakenstein Municipality is providing 24-square-metre Nutec structures to the families, but cannot provide a time frame as we are not sure how long the negotiations with the surrounding community will take,” said Esau.

Last month, a family of 11 who were evicted from the Windmeul Kelder wine farm, repeatedly rejected the municipality’s offer to house them at the caravan park. The building offered to them, which was being used as a washroom, is not big enough to house them and their belongings. The family is currently sitting by the R44 roadside.

Source: NEWS24 (emphasis by SDLAW*)

*Cape Town Attorneys, Simon Dippenaar & Associates Inc. is a Cape Town law firm with offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, offering specialised eviction legal services to landlords and tenants regarding residential, commercial and farm evictions.

Further reading:

Farm dwellers march against increase in evictions in Cape Town

By | Eviction news, Farm evictions

Cape Town – Organisations representing farmworkers say Drakenstein Municipality has the highest incidence of farm dweller evictions in the Cape wine region.

farm evictions Cape Town
File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

More than 200 farmworkers and dwellers marched to the municipal office yesterday, demanding a moratorium on farm evictions that had seemingly increased.

The march was led by activists from the Women on Farms Project (WFP), the Commercial Stevedoring Agriculture and Allied Workers Union, Mawubuye and Food Sovereignty.

WFP co-director Carmen Louw said evictions in the Drakenstein Municipality had reached crisis levels that could not be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

“There are still farm dwellers who live in relative squalor without decent basic services. This municipality has the highest incidence of farm dweller evictions but lacks mechanisms, resources and political will to provide decent alternative accommodation in cases where eviction orders are granted.

“Instead, evicted farmworkers and dwellers are accommodated in rural slums that are, in effect, being created by the municipality,” she said.

Louw said the municipality had been given until May 22 to respond to their demands as they doubted they would get any action before the national elections.

The activists handed over a memorandum asking the municipality for a comprehensive strategy for housing evicted farmworkers and dwellers. 

According to the activists there were more than 1 200 eviction cases pending on the court roll. The municipality itself estimates that 20 000 people will be evicted.

Drakenstein Municipality has more than 40 families living in tents at a campsite in Paarl East after being evicted from a farm in Simondium. They lived there as a result of land invasions to the land earmarked for them.

The municipality blamed land invaders at a site called Schoongezicht as a reason why the families had not been relocated.

Drakenstein Municipality community services executive director Gerald Esau said:

“The memorandum has been received. The stalemate situation in relation to Schoongezicht persists. However, ongoing discussions are pursued with the surrounding communities to resolve the matter amicably.”

Source: IOL (emphasis by SDLAW*)

Cape Town Attorneys SDLAW / Simon Dippenaar & Associates Inc. is a Cape Town law firm of specialised eviction attorneys in Cape Town, now in Johannesburg and Durban, offering expert eviction advice and representation to both landlords and tenants regarding the eviction process over residential, commercial and farm property. Contact a Cape Town Lawyer on +27 (0) 86 099 5146 or sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za.

Related news:

Family live on busy roadside for three weeks after eviction from wine farm

By | Eviction news, Farm evictions

Barbara Maregele, GroundUp

Ten members of the May family have been squatting outside the farm gates ever since their eviction, with all their belongings, including couches, mattresses and a cupboard, and only a plastic sheet to cover them. Photo supplied
Ten members of the May family have been squatting outside the farm gates ever since their eviction, with all their belongings, including couches, mattresses and a cupboard, and only a plastic sheet to cover them. Photo supplied

The Mays have been squatting with their belongings and only a plastic sheet to cover them. 

For nearly a month, Zonwabile Alfred May and his nine family members have been living on the R44 roadside near Paarl. They were evicted from the Windmeul Kelder wine farm on March 26, where they had lived for almost 40 years.

The May family have been squatting outside the farm gates ever since the eviction, with all their belongings, including couches, mattresses and a cupboard, with only a plastic sheet covering them.

Elna Brown, who is dating May’s son, Dumsani, said the family were trying to maintain some normality.

“The children are living with my sister so they can still bath and go to school. I’m still attending college and writing exams. It’s hard because we are still sleeping outside,” she said.

Billy Claasen, director of the Rural and Farmworkers Development Organisation, said: “It has been hot, windy, and it has rained, but with God’s grace, the family survives. They are unemployed and in desperate need of funding so they can buy food.”

The family’s troubles began after May was fired for alleged misconduct in 2008.

A two-year legal battle with Windmeul to evict them ended last month. The directors and management of Windmeul Kelder detailed their version of events, making several allegations against May and his family.

The family have repeatedly rejected the Drakenstein Municipality’s offer to house them at the caravan park in New Orleans, Paarl. The building offered to them is not big enough to house ten people and their belongings. The park is already home to over 150 evictees who have been living in tents for over a year. The small brick structure offered to the May family is currently used as a washroom. It often floods due to leaking pipes.

Gerald Esau, director of community services at Drakenstein Municipality, said: “Our offer is still on the table.”

He said the New Orleans Park was the only available option to place families in need of emergency accommodation in the area. He said construction at the municipality’s emergency housing project recently came to an abrupt halt after the property was illegally occupied.

“This area was recently invaded by the surrounding community, who refuse for these evictees to be accommodated in the area. We could therefore only offer New Orleans Park to the Windmeul evictees,” Esau said.

Lawyers representing the family are now gearing up to challenge their eviction in the Randburg Land Claims Court on April 25. They will also be asking the court to evaluate the living conditions of the alternative accommodation offered by the municipality.

Originally published on GroundUp (emphasis by SDLAW*).

Simon Dippenaar & Associates Inc. is a Cape Town law firm with offices in Cape Town, and now Johannesburg and Durban, of specialised eviction attorneys and property lawyers. Contact a Cape Town Attorney for eviction help on +27 (0) 86 099 5146 or sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za. One of our Cape Town Eviction Attorneys will contact you right back.

Further reading: