Another day another heart wrenching farm eviction

WHAT NOW?: Eleven families have been forced to camp on the road side after being evicted from the farm where some of them have lived for more than 20 years in New Hanover, in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands.  27/10/08. © Sowetan.
WHAT NOW?: Eleven families have been forced to camp on the road side after being evicted from the farm where some of them have lived for more than 20 years in New Hanover, in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands. 27/10/08. © Sowetan.

Canaan Mdletshe

It's been nearly seven days since 11 families in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands began living in open veld after being evicted.

The families of mainly pensioners and children have had to endure cold and wet conditions, and scorching heat.

The adults say they were workers on the Vastas Organic Farm in New Hanover. They allege that the owner of the farm, Slavko Vukelic, evicted them last week without warning.

They now live in makeshift tents in the open veld. They are dependent on the mercy of passersby and local residents for food and water.

Vukelic was unavailable for comment. Sowetan tried to visit the farm but was refused entry at closely guarded farm gates.

Mzwendoda Linda, 74, and his wife, Fikelephi, 60, said they arrived at the farm more than 20 years ago .

"The owner then was a good man. That all changed when the new owner took over," said Fikelephi.

Bongiwe Mabaso said she started working on the farm in 1995 as a young girl. Mabaso said their problems started in 2006 when the previous owner left.

"A sheriff of the court accompanied by the police arrived and issued us with papers that the new owner did not want us there.

"We approached the Association for Rural Advancement (Afra) but little happened," she said.

"Afra said the farmer had no right to evict us without providing us with alternative housing.

"We approached the Umshwathi municipality and the Department of Land Affairs," said Mabaso.

Despite a court hearing last month nothing was done to prevent them being kicked off the land.

The Department of Land Affairs said it was aware of the situation and was seeking legal advice.

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