Elsenburg families have legal tenure - ANC

Cape Town-150805-Residents of the Elsenburg Agricultural farm portest at their pending eviction. Picture Jeffrey Abrahams. Reporter Francesca Vilette

Cape Town-150805-Residents of the Elsenburg Agricultural farm portest at their pending eviction. Picture Jeffrey Abrahams. Reporter Francesca Vilette

Published Sep 14, 2015

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Cape Town - Three former Western Cape ANC MECs have vowed to take the stand to defend the rights of families facing eviction from state farms in Elsenburg near Stellenbosch.

Forty-eight families living in the state-owned houses at Muldersvlei, Helderfontein, and Vaaldraai recently received notices informing them that eviction processes had commenced to remove them from the houses they’ve occupied.

ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman described the evictions saga in Elsenburg as a “major attack on the poor and disadvantaged” during a sitting of the provincial legislature last week .

Fransman said the ANC had proof that in 2008 there was already an agreement in the provincial government that the houses in question would be handed over to form a settlement.

“The provincial government needs to explain why they are ignoring decisions taken by the previous government.

“It was part of negotiations between local government and housing, public works and agriculture along with the Stellenbosch municipality,” Fransman said.

He said former MEC of Local Government and Housing Richard Dyantyi, former MEC of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Pierre Uys and himself had knowledge of these negotiations and would not hesitate to take a stand in defence of the people.

“This is a community that has developed in Vaaldraai and other areas over many decades.

“If you want to remove them it will be like taking out a whole township,” he added.

In response, MEC of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde said Fransman had no understanding of the facts.

Referring to the departmental statements issued to the community, Winde said the letter asked occupants to state why they should not be evicted.

The Department of Agriculture has maintained that it is “wholly inaccurate” that eviction notices had been issued to any of the families.

“No decision has yet been taken with regard to these cases. In 29 of these cases, individuals were either dismissed from or left the state’s employ or were previously living with a lawful occupier who themselves, no longer live in the house. These are now private occupants, who are effectively preventing the Department of Transport and Public Works from allocating these homes to the Department of Agriculture so they may be used by state employees who require work-facility housing on the farms,” Joyene Isaacs, the head of the Department of Agriculture, said.

Isaacs said the remaining 19 cases involved persons occupying houses by virtue of their connection to the deceased officials that were previously employed by the Department of Agriculture.

The premises are covered under the Extension of Tenure of Security Act.

Fransman stressed that the ANC would oppose such a move.

“We believe that this goes against the earlier decision of the provincial government years ago. The community has decided to go to court and the ANC will support that.”

Fransman accused the provincial government of lying to the public in statements issued last month that there were no planned evictions, adding that letters of notice had been served on the community at the same time.

The Cape Argus has seen reports dating back to 2008/2009 which state that a joint submission by the Department Agriculture and Public Works would be submitted to cabinet for approval for the transfer of management and ownership of Vaaldraai houses to the current occupants.

Cape Argus

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