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To: President Cyril Rramaphosa and Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Stop all farm evictions

Stop all farm evictions

Immediately suspend all farm evictions on a formally signed moratorium

Why is this important?

1. Over 20 000 people are threatened by farm evictions in the Western Cape, Tshintsha Amakhaya is calling on president Cyril Ramaphosa to keep his promise following an announcement he made in Paarl in 2014 that there will be a moratorium as an immediate ban on legal and illegal farm evictions. Following the massive farm workers strike in De Doorns, Ramaphosa said, “We are calling on all farmers who have plans for evictions to stop the evictions.” However, the moratorium never came to effect. Instead, instances of farm evictions and human rights violations on farms persist. Today, Drakenstein Municipality has about 1,127 pending eviction matters.

2. The thousands of illegal evictions of farm workers and other farm dwellers continue to be evicted across the country despite the clear protections contained in the Extension of Security of Tenure Act 62 of 1997 (‘ESTA’) that a farm worker and persons living in the same dwelling as the worker may only be evicted:
a) in terms of an order of the court
b) once the court is satisfied that the eviction would be just and
equitable
c) and once the Land Claims Court has confirmed the order;

3. The great hardship, conflict and social instability caused by such evictions on a group of people already rendered vulnerable through their insecure tenure.

4. The disproportionate impact of these illegal evictions on women due to the commercial agricultural system that continues to confine women to an auxiliary labour category increasing their vulnerability to labour-related evictions.

5.The total system failure to protect the rights and security of farm workers and dwellers due to poor enforcement and resource endowment of ESTA;

6. The continued failure of municipalities to provide adequate alternative shelter as legislatively prescribed.

7. The Constitutional imperative, in section 25(6), to ensure that person whose tenure of land is legally insecure as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices, like farm workers and other farm dwellers, are provided with either legally secure tenure or comparable redress.

Both farm workers and dwellers should be prioritised and be at the forefront of cases on which expropriation without compensation will be tested.

“We used to work hard on this farm until we were retrenched in 1999. Nothing happened on the farm for 11 years and most of us couldn’t find work again. Now this farmer wants to evict us”

This a desperate cry by a mother whose family is facing eviction from the farm she's worked and lived in for years [1]. She, like many others, now face a bleak future of being dumped on the road side with no protection and nowhere to go.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made a promise in 2014 to stop farm evictions until people can be given dignified housing [2]. Even more recently, Deputy Minister Mcebisi Sikwatsha has seen with his own eyes the desperate situation farm workers are faced with [3] and also made promises to take it up with his Minister and President. We however cannot leave it to them. Thousands of illegal evictions of farm workers and other farm dwellers continue to be evicted across the country despite the clear protections contained in the Extension of Security of Tenure Act (ESTA). Places like Drakenstein are eviction hotspots with 1,127 pending evictions matters [4].

Evictions bring great hardship, conflict and social instability. The failure to protect the rights and security of farm workers and dwellers due to poor enforcement of ESTA and the failure of municipalities to provide adequate alternative shelter as legislatively prescribed need to be addressed. We need to stand with those being evicted and demand that government responds to the cries of the people. Will you tell President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to stop all farm evictions and help protect the rights and security of farm workers and dwellers?

[1] [3] Western Cape could be testing ground for land expropriation without compensation, says minister, Barbara Maregele for Groundup News. 5 June 2018.
[2] Ramaphosa asked to keep his promise to freeze farm evictions, Barbara Maregele for Groundup News. 5 April 2018.
[4] Woman faces eviction after 51 years on a farm, Barbara Maregele for Groundup News. 31 May 2018.

Updates

2018-06-14 22:06:12 +0200

100 signatures reached

2018-06-13 17:36:26 +0200

50 signatures reached

2018-06-12 10:46:30 +0200

25 signatures reached

2018-06-11 18:10:39 +0200

10 signatures reached