Family of eight have nowhere to go

McKeed Kotlolo

March is the month the country celebrates Human Rights Day, but for a Mpumalanga family it is a month they have come to dread.

The family of eight, including five children, has until the end of this month to vacate a farm they have lived on for 15 years.

For the past seven years the Nkosi family has been resisting eviction from Koppieskraal Farm in Amersfoort, after their sole breadwinner, farm employee Bednock Fanyane Nkosi, 58, stopped working for Freddie Els.

Nkosi claims the farmer fired him and locked him in the back of a bakkie with more than a dozen dogs. He was not harmed.

The family is made up of Nkosi, his wife Nomvula, 56, their daughter Sarah, 20, and five grandchildren.

Last month the farmer had an eviction notice delivered giving Nkosi until March 31 to leave.

Nkosi's wife told Sowetan that Els had offered them an undisclosed amount of money to get them to leave the farm.

"This is our home and we have no other place to go to. At our age and being unemployed we cannot afford the township lifestyle," she said.

Nkosi also claimed some of his family had been poisoned and that one child had died as a result.

Nkosi said he had reported the matter to the Ermelo office of the Department of Agriculture and Land Administration, but no action had been taken.

Department of Agriculture and Land Administration spokesman Putsoa Makuwa said his office was unaware of the matter, but promised it would be investigated immediately.

Els confirmed having given the family an ultimatum, but denied having fired Nkosi. "I did not fire him. He decided to abscond and told other workers that he didn't care if I fired him."

The farmer also denied locking Nkosi in a bakkie with dogs, as well as allegations of poisoning members of the family.

"I always drive around with my dogs in the bakkie because they always jump on the bakkie whenever I go," he said.

"The man no longer works for me.

"How can I let him continue staying on the farm when he is not employed here?

"He must make room for new employees," he said.