People who were evicted from the Klein Akker farm near Wallacedene on Monday are still out on the street with nowhere else to go. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
People who were evicted from the Klein Akker farm near Wallacedene on Monday are still out on the street with nowhere else to go. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Human Rights Commission slams evictions from Kraaifontein farm

By Chevon Booysen Time of article published Aug 22, 2019

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Cape Town – The SA Human Rights Commission

(SAHRC) has challenged the eviction of

300 people from the Klein Akker farm

in Kraaifontein, charging that a failure

by the City to provide appropriate alternative accommodation to families, as

well as the way in which the eviction

was carried out by the property owner,

amounted to a violation of various

human rights. 

The commission applied for a declaratory order in the Western Cape High

Court yesterday, where judgment was

reserved. 

Acting SAHRC provincial manager

Bahia Sterris said the eviction had

“amounted to a violation of various

human rights”. 

“Although the property owner had

obtained an eviction order, no appropriate alternative accommodation for

residents had been found, and evicted

families are now stuck out in the cold

on Botfontein Road without any temporary accommodation. 

"The commission’s

application asserts that the eviction,

which has left several families stranded,

has given rise to a series of rights violations, including the right to adequate

housing, the right to water and sanitation, the rights of children, the right to

a basic education, and finally, the right

to human dignity,” said Sterris. 

The SAHRC further supported an

application made by the Legal Resources

Centre for emergency accommodation

and constitutional damages. 

The more than 300 people, including

pensioners, women and children, were

evicted from the farm on Monday, and

have been destitute since.

Some had been living on the land

for more than 20 years. 

Klein Akker community spokesperson Anna-Marie Schoeman had said the

residents were stripped of their dignity as

they were made to sit along Botfontein

Road, in the cold, while their goods were

destroyed during the eviction process. 

“The SAHRC emphasises that the

eviction of persons must be carried out

humanely, and in line with existing

laws and constitutional principles. 

"The

SAHRC is hopeful that this litigation

will not only provide these families with

much-needed relief, but will serve as a

reminder of the constitutional and legal

obligations which must be complied

with when carrying out an eviction in

the future. 

"We are particularly concerned

about the children affected, given the

impact on their right to a basic education and in view of the paramountcy of

the best interests of the child in our Bill

of Rights,” said Sterris. 

Booth Attorneys, on behalf of the landowner Odvest 182 (Pty) Ltd,

said the owners intended to develop

the land into an industrial or semiindustrial property.

They disputed that the eviction had been unlawful, as residents were notified that they needed to move.

The firm said an application was launched in 2012 in the Western Cape High Court, and the matter was heard during 2015. The firm said that in 2016 an order was granted authorising the eviction by July 2017.

The City said the eviction was a private one in which the City’s law enforcement agencies did not take part.

The City said they had provided alternative accommodation to the residents, which was rejected by the residents.

Yesterday the City’s legal representative indicated the City would provide emergency housing kits to the ­evictees who could be housed in Philippi, 40km away, at an area called Kampies.

The City said the occupiers would only be able to move to this site within four to six weeks.

Klein Akker residents have rejected this option, citing issues such as distance from their

children’s schools, transportation

as well as their places of employment.

The City indicated they would provide the emergency kits to residents on the condition that they moved back to Klein Akker while they waited for the space at Kampies to become available.

The City also indicated they would provide emergency kits to residents who could prove they had land to put them on.

Judgment was reserved until parties formed a draft on an appropriate solution for emergency temporary accommodation.

Cape Times

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