A family of 11, including two pensioners, are spending their nights in freezing conditions in a tent at the side of the road after being evicted from their home in Paarl.
On May 7, the Land Claims Court heard an application to have the eviction of Nomabongo Sweetness May and her family rescinded.
May's husband was previously employed by Windmeul Cellars but was terminated from his position over 10 years ago.
The family initially refused to leave but they were eventually evicted in March.
According to reports, the farm owners had accused the family of running an illegal shebeen and selling drugs from the home.
The institution and prosecution of these proceedings was occasioned by a material and irretrievable breakdown of the relationship between Windmeul and the occupiers. The occupiers’ conduct, in brief, includes: destruction of property, overcrowding and the illegal use and sale of narcotics and alcohol, including sale of these substances by the occupiers to minor children, which forced Windmeul to bring such eviction proceedings into fruition. All of these misconducts took place on Windmeul’s property, which is obviously a totally intolerable situation. These facts can be readily discerned form the papers (some 450
— Windmeul Kelder Pty Ltd, March 2019 Statement
- pages) filed of record and freely available to the public. It should be noted that the occupiers, despite being competently legally represented, did not at any time seek to deny any of the allegations set out above.
Billy Claasen of the Rural and Farmworkers Development Organisation has been working alongside the Mays to fight the eviction.
He says in 2017 a police raid was carried out at the May's home.
Nothing was found in the house. No one was in court or convicted of any crime, but still, they went on with the eviction because they don't want them there.— Billy Claasen, Executive director - Rural and Farmworkers Development Organization
If there was illegal activity on the farm, then the courts must show it. The police must give us proof. But they can't!— Billy Claasen, Executive director - Rural and Farmworkers Development Organisation
Our farmworkers don't have the money and the means to fight against these people.— Billy Classen, Executive director - Rural and Farmworkers Development Organisation
The full statement from Windmeul Kelder can be found here:
Listen to the full interview below: