Claims of Stellenbosch Evictions Are Wholly Inaccurate
Joint Media Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works and Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Recent reports alleging that the Department of Transport and Public Works has issued eviction notices on 50 families are inaccurate. The matter relates to households occupying state houses at Muldersvlei, Helderfontein, and Vaaldraai (which is situated on Elsenburg), which were initially allocated to the Department of Agriculture (DOA) for Work Facility housing. This is housing required for employees to render a service after hours, weekends and public holidays.
The Department of Agriculture provides households with Work Facility Housing in terms of a resolution of the PSCBC (Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council). Of these households, 48 households form part of the current matter, who remain in unlawful occupation of the houses on these respective farms. No decision has yet been taken with regard to these unlawful occupiers.
Twenty-nine (29) of these unlawful occupants were dismissed from or left the State’s employ or were previously living with a lawful occupier who themselves, no longer live in the house. These are now private occupants, who are effectively preventing the Department of Agriculture from allocating these houses to State employees who require work facility housing on the farm concerned. The remaining 19 of the unlawful occupants are persons occupying houses by virtue of their connection to the deceased officials that were previously employed by the Department of Agriculture.
In 2014, the Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) issued letters to each occupant of houses on the farms concerned, requesting them to complete a “Survey of Occupants of Houses” document, as well as to furnish the Department with copies of the following documentation:
- Identity Document (of the occupant and all other occupiers).
- Three (3) month bank statement.
- An income and expenditure statement.
- Proof of the household income.
Some occupants have since either not completed and returned the “Survey of Occupants of Houses” document, or have done so, but failed to provide the supporting documentation.
Letters were also issued informing all occupants, including the 48 unlawful occupants, of the market-related rental that was due, with subsequent letters informing them of updated market-related rentals.
A meeting request was received by the DTPW from a local Councillor and an occupant, which was accepted by the department. The meeting took place on Thursday, 30 July 2015, and was attended by occupants, the local Councillor, and officials from both the DTPW and the DOA, to address the issues of unlawful occupation.
Following last week’s meeting, and the receipt of a memorandum delivered this morning to the DOA, senior officials of both the DTPW and DOA will meet to consider the matter carefully, and decide on the appropriate steps to be taken. All options available to the Western Cape Government, as custodians and users of the property, will be considered, having due consideration for all parties concerned.