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Eviction news

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.

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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.

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Township hub traders facing eviction

By | Commercial eviction, Eviction news
If you’ve been served with an eviction notice, don’t panic. You have rights and are protected by PIE. We explain the process and we're here to help.

More than 20 businesses trading from a piece of land in the heart of Olievenhoutbosch’s busiest economic hub face being evicted, allegedly to make way for a national food retailer.

The piece of land, located in the centre of Marabastad’s area of the township, is owned by Tshwane Municipality but a company that claims to have a valid lease on the land has issued notice to the traders to vacate the area as, according to the traders, it plans to set up a major retailer there.

The company, Mweusi Mali Maendeleo, which has Chulumanca Nomlomo as its sole director, wrote to the businesses, requesting them to vacate the property.

The letter also acknowledges that the company does not own the land but merely has a lease with the City of Tshwane.

It also gives the occupants 30 days to voluntarily vacate the premises and, according to a number of businesses City Press spoke to, a barbed wired fence was erected to barricade the area. However, it is alleged that criminals within the community removed the fence within a few weeks. “After the fence was taken, we just returned to our businesses,” said one businessperson who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of being victimised.

OLD TRADERS

Most of the businesses that City Press spoke to have been trading in the area for more than a decade and though they have been harassed for bribes by metro police, they have never been told to vacate the land by the municipality, despite not paying rent.

However, according to the municipality, the company that has leased the land is called Green Valleys Project and has different directors to Mweusi.

Questions sent to Mweusi’s lawyers, as well as Nomlomo, were not replied to by the time of going to print.

Attempts to contact the directors of Green Valleys Project were also unsuccessful.

Tshwane municipality spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said the businesses were occupying the land illegally.

“The businesses currently occupying the property are using council property without approval and/or a valid lease agreement and they are therefore illegal occupants. The city is not making any alternative arrangement for these occupants since the use of that property is illegal in the initial instance.

“That is the basis upon which the city is taking steps to evict them. Lawyers for Human Rights has been approached to intervene on their behalf and the city is attending to that aspect through its legal department.

“The property in question has been leased out to Green Valleys Project through an open tender. The said company needs to take occupation of the property and commence with the development as per the award,” Mashigo said.

However, according to Louise du Plessis from Lawyers for Human Rights, the organisation is not handling the matter.

Source: City Press (emphasis by SDLAW*)

*Cape Town Attorneys. Simon Dippenaar & Associates is a Cape Town law firm of specialised eviction attorneys in Cape Town, and now in Durban and Johannesburg, offering expert legal advice and representation to both landlords, and tenants regarding residential, commercial and farm evictions related matters in South Africa. Contact a Cape Town Lawyer on +27 (0) 86 099 5146 or email sdippenaar@sdlaw.co.za.

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