Office of the Chief Whip
Book Series: Understanding the ANC Today
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26 August 1997
There are about 1.2 million farmworker households in South Africa. They make up one of the poorest and most insecure sections of our population. When they lose their jobs, they lose their housing. In the past, subsidies were provided to farmowners for farmworkers` housing.
What this meant was that public money was used without providing security for the workers.
The Government now wishes to protect the rights of farmworkers by ensuring that they cannot be unfairly evicted from their homes, homes in which their families have sometimes lived for generations.
The Extension of Security of Tenure Bill will be debated in the Chamber this week, and it will extend the rights of rural people who live on land not owned by them. This Bill has been developed in a wide consultative process, taking all stakeholders on board with the support of both Farmers` Organisations and organisations promoting the interests of farmworkers and the landless.
The Main Points of the Bill
The Bill will apply to all rural land, such as farm land, rural land owned by tribes and peri-urban land.
The owners of land who evict people contrary to the provisions of the Bill will be liable for criminal prosecution, and suitable punishment. The court will be able to impose a jail sentence of up to two years, and or a fine.
The Bill creates mechanisms and criteria to help people to acquire long term security, either on the land where they are living or on other land. It will be possible to use subsidies from the Department of Land Affairs or the Department of Housing for this purpose.
The Bill also makes provision for the speeding up of this process by making it possible to release "block grants" -i.e. grants for a group of people or a community -- through provincial, district or local government, or bodies approved for this purpose.
Procedures for eviction
The Bill sets out the procedure by which the owner of the land may evict the occupier:
Key ANC Messages
Other Important Achievements of Land Affairs
These initiatives of the Department of Land Affairs resulted in the empowerment of thousands of disadvantaged South Africans.
Parliament today passed a motion congratulating the Minister of Land Affairs on the achievements of the Department .