“The eviction of farm dwellers” Presentation to the Select Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs 27 February 2007
Introduction • On 1 June 2005, the SAHRC briefed this Committee on the Commissions “Final Report on the Inquiry into Human Rights Violations in Farming Communities”(August 2003).
3 Areas • land rights and tenancy • safety and security • economic and social rights
Commissions’ mandate • a) Promote respect for human rights and a culture of human rights; • b)promote the protection, development and attainment of human rights; and • c) Monitor and assess the observance of human rights in the Republic[. Section 184, The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108/1996
The impact of evictions on human rights • a)The lack of legal services for farm dwellers to claim and enforce their rights • b) The lack of emergency services and programmes for farm dwellers who have been evicted. • c)The lack of land programmes for farm dwellers in terms of ESTA in order to ensure security of tenure
Evictions within a human rights framework • “Section 25(6) A person or community whose tenure of land is legally insecure as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices is entitled, to the extent provided by and Act of Parliament, either to tenure which is legally secure or comparable redress.”
ESTA • Extension of Security of Tenure Act 92/97 • 10 years old? • 10 years new?
Provisions of ESTA • Largely procedural • Complicated and technical • S4 subsidies • ADR is provided for • Criminal offence to evict
The changing face of agriculture and labour on farms • Globalization • New labour laws • ESTA
The number of evictions • Very little research • Lack of accurate data and statistics • “Still searching for Security, the reality of farm dweller evictions in South Africa” , December 2005
Number of persons evictedSource: Still searching for Security, December 2004, p46 • Evicted 1984 – 1994 • Evicted from farms 1 679 417 • Evicted but relocated to other farms and small holdings109 185 (6.5%) • Left farms completely due to evictions1 570 233 (93.5%) • Legally evicted by means of a court order 19 300 (1.15%)
Evictions 1994 – 2004Source: Still searching for Security, December 2004, p46 1994 13% 122 626 1995 9% 83 575 1996 12% 111 651 1997 14% 126 196 1998 7% 63 771 1999 9% 87 503 2000 6% 57 030 2001 3% 22 924 2002 6% 59 878 2003 15% 138 308 2004 6% 56 813 TOTAL 100% 930 275
Provincial Analysis • Gauteng 22.4% • KZN 20.1% • Eastern Cape 10.7% • Western Cape 10.6% • Limpopo 9.7%
The multi fold impact on human rights of evictions • “Motho ke motho - ga ana bosehlana (a human being is a human being, there is no lesser human being)” • “The idea, that human life has equal worth, and that this is the core value that unites us, invites us to ask whether we have done enough to give practical effect in South Africa today to our shared humanity. Have we acted in a manner that shows that human life has equal worth? Or do we still live in a society where the shadow of history dominates over the opportunities of an open society.” • Trevor Manuel, Budget Speech, February 2007
Section 10 • Everyone has the right to inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected.
Section 9(1) • Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.
Section 9(4) • Section 9(4) No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone
Section 12(1) • Everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person which includes the right – (c) to be free from all forms of violence for either public or private sources
Section 25 • Section 25 No one may be deprived of property
Section 26 • Section 26 (1)Everyone has the right to adequate housing • (3) No one may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances. No legislation may permit arbitrary evictions.
Section 27 • Everyone has the right to have access to health care services, and sufficient food and water.
Section 29 • Everyone has the right to basic education
The lack of legal services for farm dwellers to claim and enforce their rights • 2/3 of evictee families had wanted assistance • 75% did not know where they could get assistance • In 6 out of 7 cases from Worcester - farm dwellers did not have legal representation and were not present in court when the eviction order was granted
The lack of emergency services and programmes for farm dwellers who have been evicted • Municipalities gave food parcels • Councilor committee’s assisted in arranging electricity and piped water
The lack of land programmes for farm dwellers in terms of ESTA in order to ensure security of tenure • Relocation settlement type: • Formal urban 38.3% • Informal urban 29% • Traditional rural 14% • Rural townships 10.5% • Farms 5.5% • Informal rural 1.4% • smallholdings 1% • Industrial 0.2% Source: Still searching for Security, December 2004
Impact • high levels of unemployment and poverty. • increase in malnutrition, • an inability of households to cover the costs of education resulting in children leaving school early; • an increase in the number of people living in overcrowded conditions; • as many as 80% of households being dependent on welfare grants and pensions for survival, • a rise in teenage pregnancies and HIV infections and • an increase in alcohol and drug abuse which often leads to increased levels of domestic violence and sexual abuse.Source: Still searching for Security, December 2004, p173
The way forward • Research and monitoring • Inform farm dwellers of their rights • Legal Aid Board must do more awareness raising • Alternative dispute mechanisms • Specific land redistribution projects • Holistic approach, including emergency programmes