Activists push Ramaphosa for farm evictions ban
President Cyril Ramaphosa is yet to uphold a promise made in 2014 to issue a moratorium on farm evictions, GroundUp reports. In November 2014, Ramaphosa, as Deputy President at the time, was quoted by City Press as promising a moratorium on evictions, after he and a delegation of senior Ministers met agricultural and farm labour representatives in Paarl.
Since his election to office in February, activists and lobby groups have called on Ramaphosa to implement the moratorium, but without success. Activists argue that a moratorium is necessary to secure the tenure rights of all farm dwellers. They want an end to forced removals; the opportunity for long term tenants to build structures; and for farm dwellers to be able to use the land they occupy for their own purposes.
The SA Human Rights Commission's Western Cape head Chris Nissen said the commission had still not heard back from the Presidency. He said the commission and lobby group Women on Farms were working with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to curb unlawful farm evictions.
This, Nissen said, followed a visit to farms in Simondium by Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha in June. At the time, Skwatsha said he 'was alarmed' by the living conditions of some farm dwellers in the area. He added that Parliament was 'busy strengthening the legislation around the Extension of Security of Tenure Act'.
Skwatsha's visit prompted civil society group Tshintsha Amakhaya to start an online campaign to get Ramaphosa to ban all farm evictions. Sobantu Mzwakali, Advocacy and Campaigns Officer at Tshintsha Amakhaya, said: 'We know the laws exist but on the ground evictions are still happening and the law is not being implemented the way it should be.'
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