Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform
Wendy Pekeur
Vaaldraai community tenure insecurity
11 July 2019 3:25 p.m.
Dear Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform,

We, the occupants of Vaaldraai community, including retired pensioners, women, spouses of deceased workers, of the Department of Agriculture have suffered great tenure insecurity for the last few years despite a resolution passed in the Western Cape Legislature that Vaaldraai would be declared a town and that homes will be transferred to the current occupants. Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Public Works, and Stellenbosch Municipality had several meetings regarding the implementation of the decision and community members were engaged on it as well. It included plans on expansion, initiating community projects and budgets was set aside for these. It is 9 years since the decision and instead of honoring the decision, people received notices to vacate the homes. We resisted the evictions and protested at the Cape Town High Court in 2016 when the first applications for evictions were brought before the court. These applications were brought i.t.o PIE as if we have no relationship with the land. We brought this matter under the attention of MEC Alan Winde, as well as representatives from Public Works and Department of Agriculture. MEC Alan Winde told us decisions change all the time. Our rights have been violated and some of the workers and their families have been living on the land for 5 generations. These workers have worked under extreme conditions, low wages, illegal evictions and they were excluded from belonging to the government employee fund. Their circumstances, very similar to workers on private own farms. Only in the nineties were people allowed to be part of the pension scheme, but several did not qualify for the discriminatory pension fund program despite some of them working for more than 30 years, with one having 46 years of service. Getting ownership of the homes and the land we reside on will be another way of getting some redress. We then resorted to Deputy Minister Skwatsa who was part of the provincial legislature during the time the decision was made. Minister Skwatsa addressed us at a meeting in Vaaldraai and promised to look into our concerns. On 26 April 2019, we had a memorandum to a Presidential representative asking for an intervention from President Ramaphosa as the highest in office as this is a state farm. We addressed President Ramaphosa at a rally in Mitchells Plain on 3 May. President Ramaphosa promised publically to get back to us and said the matter will be seen to. The Department of Rural Development and Land reform as the Custodians of the governments land redistribution program is crucial in driving the implementation of the decision made by the legislature. We humbly request an opportunity to address you and awaits your favorable response.