Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto

Farm Evictions


Guest: Rev. Chris Nissen | Western Cape Regional Commissioner at South African Human Rights Commission.

Farmworkers and farm dwellers continue to face legal evictions in a country desperately trying to stabilise its economy – and their patience is wearing thin. Ruth Hall, a professor at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape, estimates that in the first decade of democracy almost 940,000 people were forcibly evicted from farms. Removals coincided with the withdrawal of apartheid-era subsidies for white-owned farms. Hall says that in the early days of democracy white farmers who used to rely on government support had to fend for themselves financially and reducing their labour force was a desperate attempt to drive down costs.

“What we’re seeing is really a naked brutal form of capitalism where people’s lives are
expendable in the context of squeezed commercial businesses, where farmers are
facing the global market, they’re squeezing labour costs and pushing people off their
farms,” says Hall.

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