Mesco Farm residents fight another eviction order
Cape Town - Former Klein Akker residents are back in court fighting against yet another farm eviction order. The group of about 77 people has been living on a state-owned farm just outside Kraaifontein for the past two years.
Yesterday, attorneys for the state’s tenant, Ricmal Green Pty Limited Mesco Farm Workers Co-operative Limited, presented their case to Judge Deidre Kusevitsky, arguing they were not oblivious to the plight of the occupants, “but that what was supposed to be a temporary measure that started to look somewhat permanent with the different inter-government bodies not moving quickly enough to source alternative accommodation for the farm-bound residents, who were placed smack-bang in the middle of the farm”.
During court proceedings, Ricmal Green’s advocate, Casper Maree, argued that while the situation was sensitive, it was wholly unfair to his client, who now had to provide on his leased property for the group.
Maree, in his arguments, said his client was unhappy with the decision made by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Mcebisi Skwatcha, who did not consult Ricmal Green and followed procedures.
Judge Kusevitsky said she understood why the Mesco residents had not been relocated as originally planned, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Judge Kusevitsky listened to a brief address from the City’s representative, who said the City was in the process of purchasing another farm, which it would use to house the Mesco occupants, but that the process would take some time, as there were many components to developing the land to house the group.
She asked the court to give the City and Department of Rural, Land Reform and Agriculture enough time to sort out the particulars before the occupants could be moved off the farm.
Today, lawyers representing the Mesco occupants will present their case. They will argue against the eviction order.
Advocate Johan Van Merwe said although they were not sure what the result would be, they were hoping that their application to have the eviction order dismissed would succeed.
The City, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, the deputy Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, the Municipality of Stellenbosch, the South African Human Rights Commission, the government of South Africa, and the Cape Winelands District will also present their arguments today.