thrown out into the rain and cold

VICTORIOUS: Clifford Pillay and the evicted residents of Putfontein leave the Benoni magistrate's court after the Ekurhuleni municipality was ordered to rebuild their makeshift shelters near Chief Albert Luthuli township in Benoni. Pic: VATHISWA RUSELO. 05/05/2010. © Sowetan.

Clifford Pillay and the community of  Putfontein leaving the benoni magistrates court after the judge ordered the Ekurhuleni municipality to re build their makeshift shelter near Albert Luthuli Park in Benoni. PHOTO: VATHISWA RUSELO
VICTORIOUS: Clifford Pillay and the evicted residents of Putfontein leave the Benoni magistrate's court after the Ekurhuleni municipality was ordered to rebuild their makeshift shelters near Chief Albert Luthuli township in Benoni. Pic: VATHISWA RUSELO. 05/05/2010. © Sowetan. Clifford Pillay and the community of Putfontein leaving the benoni magistrates court after the judge ordered the Ekurhuleni municipality to re build their makeshift shelter near Albert Luthuli Park in Benoni. PHOTO: VATHISWA RUSELO

AT LEAST 55 farmworkers and 12 children have had to live on the side of the road after their employers sold off properties without informing them.

Putfontein Road at Chief Albert Luthuli township in Ekurhuleni is home to more than 30 families.

Their problems worsened when the Ekurhuleni municipality unleashed the "Red Ants" (a security firm often used by councils to evict people) on Human Rights Day, March 21, tearing down their makeshift shelters.

Some were born on the farms and had lived there many years.

The rainy, cold weather has worsened the situation, with almost every one sick from the common cold.

Glory Sithole and her three children are down with flu. Her youngest child turned three months today.

Linah Kekana, 55, said she had been working at a nearby plot for years and was told two years ago that the property had been sold to "new management".

"My employers left, leaving me at the property.

"A few days later two estate agents came and showed me papers. They said new owners would be moving in and that I should leave before they called the police," Kekana said.

She and others in a similar situation approached the mayor's office and the Gauteng department of housing and local government.

"Two years ago government officials came and we filled in forms to apply for RDP houses. They have not come back since," Willie Madeleni said.

Makeshift plastic shelters are all they have after their tents were confiscated by the Red Ants.

They approached the Legal Aid Board, but were told to get a private lawyer as there were "no resources".

Their lawyer, Clifford Pillay, who offered his services for free, said the Benoni magistrate's court had ruled that the eviction was illegal.

"The municipality will have to answer as to why they think the eviction was not illegal," Pillay said.

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