By Max Rambau, CORC
On Saturday (5th February 2011) I went to Hekpoort at the invitation of the local leadership. I had expected to meet only with the leadership but only to find that it was a general meeting instead. The meeting was well attended by people from 4 settlements of Skeerpoort and other surrounding plots. There were more than 150 people.
This meeting was more of a complaints’ meeting whereby the people raised their concerns and dissatisfaction with the local ward councillor who is working with the landowners and farm owners. He assists them in evicting people by taking them to some informal settlements in the area.
It is alleged that the ward councillor is being paid by the landowners and farmers to assist them evicting people.
The Concerned Community group indicated that the ward councillor was taking them from where they had rights and were taken to informal settlements where they did not have rights. They said that they wanted to know how the ISN could assist them because they were working with LAMOSA.
We informed them that we as the ISN we were assisting people but supporting them on their activities.
Some people wanted to give us their individual cases to us but we requested that they should give them to their leadership.
We took one case of Sam Manganyi who was assaulted by the police and the farmer who had taken over the farm he was working in.
Mr. Manganyi’s employer of 10 years had sold his farm to another farmer, Mr. Robbie Lehane. It appears that the new owner did not want Mr. Manganyi from the farm where his former employer had given him a place to stay in the farm and also given him a tractor, combi and ploughs as part of the retrenchment package.
There are two houses (3 roomed and 2 roomed) that Mr. Manganyi had built by himself as a labour tenant.
The new farmer, Mr. Lehane started accusing Manganyi of stealing some farming equipment and had him arrested by the police who also assaulted him. The charges that Manganyi laid against the police but this case has not progressed.
We are contemplating taking this case to the Gauteng Provincial Commissioner of Safety and Security and a letter will be written to him.