Farmers resist eviction

SMALL-scale farmers in Western Cape are gearing up for a confrontation with the authorities as the government intends to build low-cost houses on grazing land.

About 300 farmers accused the provincial department of housing and the City of Cape Town of being "greedy" and have vowed to block the planned development by the government. The Ithemba Farmers Association said its members' livelihood depended on the piece of land between Khayelitsha and Eesterivier, about 30 kilometres from Cape Town. Recently, they staged a protest against the department's plan to build a temporary relocation settlement on the land. They claim they have been working and grazing there for 25 years. The provincial government is reportedly planning to start building the temporary settlement today.

"The government wants to build shacks on good agricultural land. We are going to stay here (and) we are not moving without a fight," said farmer Nombeko Nonti.

Housing MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela refused to comment, saying he would issue a statement during the week.