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E Cape farm evictions decrease, but threats continue

By Thamsanqa Sesmani, News24
5 June 2000

Grahamstown - There had been a decrease in the number of actual Eastern Cape farm evictions over the last six months but an increase in the number of threatened evictions.

This was contained in a Border Rural Committee (BRC) report released on Monday on an Evictions Monitoring Project (EMP) programme dealing with the Extension of Security of Tenure Act (Esta).

The report -- which covered the period from 1 October last year to 31 March -- revealed that 29 cases relating to Esta had been reported throughout the Eastern Cape.

Of the 29 cases, 22 were of threatened evictions and seven were of actual removal.

As compared to the period from April to September last year when 19 cases were reported, there was an increase of 10 cases for the October to March period.

BRC spokesperson Thamie Mgwigwi said the district of Komga recorded the highest number with 12 Esta cases.

Komga was followed by East London with nine cases and Stutterheim with three.

The number of people affected by the threatened and actual evictions rose from 176 to 337, with 193 women and children feeling the brunt of eviction threats.

Of the seven actual eviction cases recorded on the database, none were executed with a court order.

Mgwigwi said this indicated there had been no improvement in the application of the legal system.

He said change of ownership and labour disputes remained the most commonly cited reason for eviction.

In only one case had funds been released by government for the provision of alternative land for long term tenure security.

There had been a dramatic increase of 40 percent in the number of evictions in which farmers had sold the land.

Access to land and grazing had been restricted in 27 instances. The Eastern Cape EMP was initiated as part of a broader implementation strategy of the National Land Committee to monitor evictions.

The project aims to maintain the EMP database and to compile six- monthly reports which reflect the extent of lawful and unlawful evictions granted under Esta. - ECN

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