Evicted families ‘failed to argue case’

2008-10-27 00:00

The owner of the farm at New Hanover from which 11 families were evicted last week has said that they were given sufficient opportunity to state their case in the magistrate’s court, but failed to attend.

Jonathan Carr, attorney for farm owner Slavko Vukelic, said the matter went to court more than seven times over nine months and the evicted families were given legal aid assistance. On most occasions they failed to attend court.

Carr disputed the length of time the families lived on the farm, saying that it was not more than 10 years, as was reported to The Witness, but he was unable to say how long the families had lived there.

“The previous owner of the property was asked to evict the occupants for health reasons,” he said.

These reasons included the lack of toilet facilities, scattered refuse around the premises and the lack of a drinkable water supply on the farm.

“Representations were made by the uMshwati Municipality to supply the respondents with alternative accommodation, and a reply was sent by [the municipality] on June 25,” said Carr.

However, the municipality said that it was not their responsibility, but that of the Local Government and Housing Department.

Carr said the occupants have erected further illegal structures along the boundary of Vukelic’s farm on the main New Hanover Road.

Vukelic, who became the owner of the farm a year ago, said he could not develop the property with the people still there and that the farm has been neglected and the bush is overgrown.

thandom@witness.co.za

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