PRESS STATEMENT | Land Claims Court Grants Order to Expedite Resettlement of Former Farm-workers and Their Families Evicted and Left on the Side of the Road

Date: 15/07/2021

Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) has successfully represented twelve families comprising of former farmworkers in the Land Claims Court (LCC), challenging an eviction order that rendered these people destitute and homeless. Today, those twelve families – a total of 52 people, including children, elderly, and disabled persons,  will be moved to a new farm, with houses for each family and access to  basic services.

The farmworkers were staying on a farm in Ventersdorp, where they were employed, and where some of them had stayed for several decades. When their employment was terminated, the land owner approached the court for an eviction. The farmworkers were not represented in the proceedings and the order for eviction was granted against them; in March 2021, they were forcibly removed from the farm and deposited on the side of the road. They slept outside next to the road for two days, until the municipality intervened and moved them into the municipal hall.

LHR represented the farmworkers in the LCC for urgent relief because they were evicted without the provision of suitable alternative accommodation. Since April, LHR has been in court on almost a weekly basis to find a solution for the precarious position that these people were in. Many government departments were joined to the proceedings, in a collaborative effort to expeditiously find suitable accommodation for the farmworker families.

After months of meetings and court hearings, LHR is pleased to announce the relocation of these families to the new farm, where they will have tenure security, as it will be held in a trust registered in their names. They will also be able to farm on the land and have the opportunity to engage in business ventures.

LHR’s Land and Housing attorney, Deborah Raduba said “We are  thrilled that our clients will finally have a place that they can truly call home”.

For further information, please contact:

Deborah Raduba

Lawyers for Human Rights

012 320 2943 / 064 647 4719

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