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Farm workers march to Parliament demanding moratorium on evictions

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Call for President Cyril Ramaphosa to keep promise he made in 2014

Photo of farm worker picket
Farm workers marched to Parliament on Wednesday to demand a moratorium on evictions. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks
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Over 200 farm workers marched to Parliament on Wednesday to hand over a memorandum demanding an immediate moratorium on farm evictions, an urgent meeting with the minister of rural development and a task team to address farm evictions. In 2014, then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa promised a moratorium on farm evictions. That promise is yet to be fulfilled.

The march was organised by the Women on Farms Project. In the memorandum, the workers said that evictions in the broader Cape winelands and in Drakenstein Municipality had become a crisis. 20,000 people are at risk of eviction on Drakenstein farms. Colette Solomon, Director of Women on Farms, said that farmers were still “illegally evicting farm workers” and at the same time “we see luxury housing developments going up”.

“Where must we go? We are born on farms,“ said Jo-Anne Johannes, a farm worker from Simondium.

Protesters held up placards saying “Give back our land now”, “Women demand land”.

“You don’t want to live in our situations. You don’t want to come to our towns, to our farms to live in shacks,” said Johannes to presidency official Charles Ford, who accepted the memorandum. Johannes said that she was facing eviction but was refusing to move.

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Dear Editor

I was evicted from my family's three-roomed farm house by farm's new owner. We lived in that house for 30 years. The court gave me 30 days to pack and go. The farm manager even demolished part of my home. He later apologised at police station. I had to pack up all of my late mother's belongings and furniture and move it to a shack in Mamelodi where I work part time as a security guard.