South Africa: IFP Calls for KZN Premier to Intervene in Newcastle's Farm Evictions

press release

The IFP calls on the KwaZulu-Natal Premier Mr Willies Mchunu and Human Rights Commission to urgently intervene in the urgent matter affecting thousands of farm dwellers from 22 farms in Dannhauser near Newcastle facing eviction to make way for mining activities. It has been reported that three families already having had their houses demolished, their gravesites tampered with and people assaulted.

It is alleged that Ikwezi Mine bought the farms to pursue mining without the dwellers' knowledge. Such brutality contradicts the draft mining charter recently prepared by the Mineral Resources Ministry, which regards the interests of hosting communities as a priority.

As the IFP, we are not saying we are against mining taking place in our province but we demand Premiers' intervention that will ensure that proper procedures are followed, thorough and fair consultations with hosting families are conducted and reasonable agreements are reached. All needs and conditions of the families should be taken care before brutal evictions are done to their homes. Also, we call for Premier and the commission to warrant that employment opportunities are offered to the farm dwellers as they previously were employees of these farms", said IFP Spokesperson for Agriculture Mr. Nhlanhla Msimango MPL.

The Human Rights Commission must use the circumstantial evidence which proves that the families qualify as labour tenants and thus enjoy protection from the Labour Tenants Act. They must ensure that families receive properly built houses with adequate land for cattle because in terms of sections 3 and 8 of the Extension of Security Tenure Act 1997 (ESTA), the community have the right to consent to the relocation proposed by miners.

The companies should always consider the fundamental rights of its citizens while dealing in sensitive issues like acquisition of land. We demand that the Premier and the Commission immediately intervene to stop this illegal and immoral action by Ikwezi Mine.

"This story illustrates vividly the desperate plight of thousands of South African farm workers and their families who continue to suffer because of ruthless capitalists who put profit motives before people's lives. Ruthless employers treat them little better than slaves, exploiting their labour for poverty wages and then throwing them out of their homes when it suits their plans, concluded Mr Msimango.

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