20 March 2019

South Africa: Farm Workers March to Parliament Demanding Moratorium On Evictions

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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