Land claimants clash with farm workers over land

2017-03-02 16:52
Protest in Bereaville, Genadendal (Facebook, via Netwerk24)

Protest in Bereaville, Genadendal (Facebook, via Netwerk24)

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Cape Town – Residents of Bereaville in Genadendal in the Western Cape almost came to blows with farm workers after they apparently tried to squat on "their land".

George Juries, one of the people with a land restitution claim on the piece of land (Farm 39), told Netwerk24 that the workers had moved in with a corrugated iron shack on Sunday morning.

"Farm 39 forms part of a land restitution and redistribution case in which I am also a claimant. The case has been ongoing since 2007. There are people who have been staying in shacks on other parts of the land for quite some time. They’ve been given notice to leave on several occasions."

Juries called police when he saw yet another structure going up on a different part of the land.

"The police asked me to show them where the shacks were being built. The people did not take any notice of the police. When residents from the Bereaville community arrived at the scene, all hell broke loose."

'Residents became violent'

Anathi Myabalala, who lives in one of the shacks, said residents broke down the existing and newly-built dwellings.

"I’ve been staying here for 13 years and have two children. The residents broke things and we were forced to run away."

On Monday, the residents of the informal homes showed their dissatisfaction by holding a protest.

"The police showed no sympathy and demanded that we return to our homes. We couldn’t, and the residents became violent. Several people were assaulted in altercations."

The residents of the informal dwellings are being housed in a church hall.

The Greyton Red Cross described the attacks as xenophobia, and asked for donations. "We have 66 people staying here and need blankets, food and other essentials for people who’ve lost everything."

Several residents said on social media that it had nothing to do with xenophobia.

"It’s about illegal land invaders. Many Bereaville people have been on the waiting list for houses for years," said Wilmohr Williams.

Read more on:    cape town  |  housing  |  land  |  land claims

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