Housebound in a town wrecked by booze

2013-04-23 10:00

Although Janet Ockhuis lives in a country town surrounded by the spectacular scenery of the Cederberg mountains, she rarely leaves her Citrusdal house.

Ockhuis runs a spaza shop from a converted shipping container in the yard of her RDP house.

Now 46, Ockhuis remembers how, as a younger woman, she could walk freely after dark. But that freedom is gone, she says.

She blames wine, tik and the influx of seasonal workers, who have established an informal settlement on the edge of town. “Every second household is broken by wine or tik.”

She has lived in the “coloured area” of Citrusdal for 13 years.

As a young teenage girl comes to buy chips from her shop, Ockhuis says: “This one’s mother has disappeared. Sy’s op die wyn (she’s on the wine).”

Herself the daughter of an alcoholic, Ockhuis says three of her four sisters became alcoholics.

One sister lives in the squatter camp with her daughter, who herself now has a child.

“Those two have been raped many times, too drunk to know they’ve even been raped.”

Ockhuis says just last week an “auntie” from one of the farms visited the squatter camp, “got drunk, walked in the street and was raped”.

She adds: “On the farms, almost every weekend there is a rape.”

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