Solidarity: Piketberg protest march

The Right to Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty
21 January 2009 – For immediate release

School is out for Bentley Morobi: “Tomorrow is D-day for farm eviction in Piketberg but campaign is confident of success”

Schools in the province just started today, but tomorrow might be the last day of school for Bentley Morobi, the 11-year old son of Michael Morobi, the farmworker who face eviction charges in the Piketberg Magistrates Court.

Bentley, his 6-month old sibling, mother Susan and father Michael are to be evicted from the Pemona farm in Piketberg by farmer Rob Duncan under the ESTA law. To date, 2 million farm workers have been evicted under this legislation. And more farm workers face the same fate in the coming months.

It is against this backdrop that the Right to Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty Campaign is mobilising communities from as far afield as Namaqualand, Hantam-Karoo and the West Coast region to lend support to the Morobi’s. The protest action consist of a gathering at the entrance to the Pemona Farm at 07h30 on Thursday morning and a march to the Bergriver Municipal Offices where the relevant authorities are expected to give feedback on the demands from the campaign. Land rights activists, evicted families and those families facing eviction will form part of the expected 150 protesters.

During last year, a mass march was undertaken to Parliament, followed by a sit-in at the Provincial Land Affairs Offices, the symbolic invasion of commonage land in Vredendal and a march through the streets of Piketberg.

According to campaign spokesperson, Andries Titus, the campaign will bring Piketberg to a virtual standstill. “We want to show the authorities that we are a movement that take the demands of the rural poor and the landless seriously. We will continue to agitate for change and will not allow our rights to be trampled upon”. he said.

He added that political parties who wish to secure the vote of the rural poor, are in for a rude awakening. “We are still saying that no land equals no vote.”he said.

Please contact Andries Titus on 076 511 6614, Davine Witbooi on 078 907 2566 or Michael Morobi on 073 818 7066.