'Where is the humanity?' SAHRC calls for review of farm eviction laws

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is calling for a review of the laws relating to farm evictions.

Western Cape regional commissioner Chris Nissen says they've seen a dramatic rise in evictions in recent years.

I've just come from Knysna and a placed called Karatara where there are 18 families staying in a community hall.

Rev. Chris Nissen, Western Cape regional commissioner - South African Human Rights Commission

Nissen says often the evictions fall under the radar.

It's not even going through the court process. It's just sheer intimidation where people are being put out.

Rev. Chris Nissen, Western Cape regional commissioner - South African Human Rights Commission

Last year in New Orleans in Paarl around 45 families were evicted from farms in the surrounding Cape Winelands.

Nissen says they're now facing a second winter living in tents.

Read: Fight continues for family of 11 evicted from Paarl wine farm

Farm evictions in South Africa are governed by Extension of Security of Tenure Act 62 of 1997 (Esta).

The Act places rights and responsibilities on both landowners and occupiers and sets out processes of eviction.

But according to Nissan a review of Esta is long overdue.

That law is not really crafted for a 50/50 solution for the farm worker and for the farm owner.

Rev. Chris Nissen, Western Cape regional commissioner - South African Human Rights Commission

We really need to make representations to the portfolio committee and legislature around having a review of Esta.

Rev. Chris Nissen, Western Cape regional commissioner - South African Human Rights Commission

There is this complete vulnerability of people. The farmer is within his right to say, you are not working for me, you need to leave, but where is the humanity?

Rev. Chris Nissen, Western Cape regional commissioner - South African Human Rights Commission

Listen to the full interview below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'Where is the humanity?' SAHRC calls for review of farm eviction laws


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