Farmers up in an uproar over looming eviction

SCORES of Cape Town small-scale farmers are up in arms over their looming eviction from land they have farmed for 25 years.

About 300 angry farmers took to the streets of Cape Town yesterday, carrying a pig in a truck to symbolise their desperation.

The Ithemba Farmers Association face eviction from a 70hectare piece of land they farm in Eersteriver, 22km from the city centre.

The provincial department of housing says the farmers are on the land illegally and must be removed before winter so that the government can build a new temporary relocation area for flood victims.

The PAC yesterday gave its support to the farmers

"Had the small farmers been white, racist farmers, the government would have supported them," PAC provincial coordinator Chulile Ncukaya said, promising to take the issue to Parliament.

He said the farmers were providing food and employment and preventing women from resorting to prostitution, which is rife in surrounding areas.

The farmers said they had nowhere else to go with their animals. They held up placards saying, "Kill us first before you take our land," and "What is a farmer without land," and "God gave us this land."

The farmers gave housing MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela 21 days to halt his plans for a TRA.

They also marched on Cape Town mayor Dan Plato and mocked him when nobody from his office showed up to accept their memorandum.

One of the farmers, Marina Witbooi, complained: "When we took the land it was just bush. Now that we have cleared it they want to put up shacks."