South Africa: Former Farmworker Refuses to Leave Her Home of 30 Years

Ladismith farmer says he needs the house for current workers

Former farm workers Cathleen and Pieter Beukes have been told to leave the farm in Ladismith on which they have lived for 30 years.

The owner says he needs the house for people who currently work on the farm.

The Beukeses say they have nowhere to go and will not leave their home.

Two former farm workers have been asked to leave the home on the Ladismith farm on which they have lived and worked for more than 30 years.

Cathleen Beukes and her husband Pieter Beukes were given a letter in October last year from the owner of JC Radyn Boerdery in Eilandsvallei stating that they had to vacate their house, since neither worked on the farm anymore. The farm produces grapes, peaches and other fruit.

In the letter, which GroundUp has seen, owner Johan Radyn explains that he cannot afford to allow people who no longer work on the farm to live on the premises. “There are other employees in my service to whom this privilege must go,” he says. Radyn says that in terms of the Extension of Security of Tenure Act he is giving them three months notice, after which he will seek a court eviction order if necessary. He says the Beukes can contact him for further information.

The Extension of Security of Tenure Act, or ESTA, outlines the conditions under which a landowner can legally evict a resident living in a rural area or a farm, such as the ending of a lease agreement or employment.

In a separate letter, the Beukeses were also asked to remove their four sheep and some pigs from the property. In the letter they were told that the wine cellar would not buy the farm’s grapes if there were animals within 80 metres of the vineyards.