NGO Condemns Apartheid Style Forced Removals

NGO Condemns Apartheid Style Forced Removals

20 years later, Apartheid style forced removals prevail amidst 2010
World Cup celebrations

Press Release

2 March 2010

The Ithemba Farmers Association consists of 300 poor black households
who have practiced subsistence agriculture for as long as 25 years on a
piece of land between Khayelitsha and Eersterivier. These farmers now
face eviction threats from the Provincial Department of Housing to make
room for a temporary relocation area (informal settlement) which the
government wants to build in place of the farms.

However, the land is still zoned for agriculture, and the government has
not followed the proper procedures to gain feedback from the public in
order to re-zone the land for housing. It is doubtful whether the land
is even suitable for housing, given its flood-prone condition, proximity
to mining, and its lack of access to basic services such as water,
sanitation, transportation, police, and health facilities. This is just
a repeat of the way land was used in Apartheid. People must be put in
communities that are sustainable and not dumped on land unsuitable for

Craig Jonkers, chair of the Ithemba Small Farmers Association, says “We
farmers have been trying to sustain ourselves through crop and livestock
farming for years, but are being kicked off. They want to build shacks
on our farmland, but it will lead to unhealthy conditions, increased
poverty and underdevelopment. The government complains about crime, but
by taking away people’s ability to provide for themselves, they are
increasing crime and poverty. We the poor have a right to the city and
we will reclaim that right whatever it takes”

As the government celebrates the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s
release from Robben Island, and the 2010 World Cup, which will add R55.7
billion to South Africa’s economy, the case of the Ithemba farmers
reminds us that poor black people in this country continue to be
subjected to Apartheid-style land-use policies. “I understand they want
to build houses everywhere, but what about farmers? How will we feed
ourselves?” asks Craig Jonkers. This eviction will happen despite the
promise of the MEC for Housing B.S. Madikezela that there must be room
for urban agriculture in the city and that they simple cannot just build
houses on every piece of land.

In resistance, the farmers are asking for public support for an upcoming
series of direct actions against the city of Cape Town and Department of

Please contact Criag Jonkers 0781536783, Nombeko Nonti 074 513 4711 and
Johan 079 027 7853

Date published:
Surplus People Project