File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

Farmworker’s widow, 62, evicted after 20 years 'because owners said I was sick'

By Siphokazi Vuso Time of article published Feb 6, 2020

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Cape Town – A 62-year-old Stellenbosch widow of a farmworker has been evicted from a farm she and her late husband lived on for about 20 years, according to farmworker rights group Women on Farms.

The move followed a lengthy legal battle by the farm owners of Goedvertrouw, who obtained an eviction order against Elizabeth le Roux.

They said Le Roux flagrantly wasted water during a time of severe water restrictions and was often under the influence of alcohol.

Le Roux said she was not at home when she received a phone call that the owners of the farm broke her door and took her belongings on Tuesday.

“That was around 9am, the farmer’s lawyer said the magistrate granted that I must be put out, because they said I was sick,” she said.

She spent the night alongside a road in Stellenbosch before moving in with a friend, said Women on Farms project’s Carmen Louw.

Louw claimed Le Roux’s belongings were dumped on the side of the road when she was evicted.

“This eviction needs to be seen in the context of a systematic process by farmers, especially in Stellenbosch, Simondium and Franschhoek, to evict farm workers and dwellers,” she said.

Louw said le Roux’s husband, Paulus le Roux, had worked on the farm for 20 years, and two days after he was buried in May 2016, the owners told her to vacate her house.

In court documents Le Roux was ordered to vacate the property by no later than June 30 last year.

Barend Kellerman, the legal representative of the farm owners, said Le Roux’s right of occupation was from her late husband’s employment on the farm.

“She alone occupied an entire house on the farm that was required for other employees. After many failed attempts to discuss the issues relating to her continued occupation of the farm, and after he (the farm owner) had allowed her to remain on the farm for almost a year, my client eventually gave her notice to vacate the property on March9, 2017. 

"This was after she had failed to take him up on any of his invitations to negotiate the matter with him,” he said.

Stellenbosch Municipality spokesperson Mart-Marie Haasbroek said they were going to help Le Roux: “The municipality must provide emergency housing in cases like this and a team was sent to assist the resident. We are of providing her with emergency housing.”

Cape Times

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