Former factory workers face being thrown out of homes
We are going nowhere– resident
PENSIONER Leonard van der Berg worked for a Cape Town brick factory from the time he was a teenager in 1956, until he was laid off in 2009.
But now Van der Berg, 68, a father of four children and grandfather of six, is one of eight families that the company – Brick & Clay Cape in Frankdale near the Vissershok landfill site – is trying to evict from eight houses purposebuilt to provide accommodation so workers could live close to their workplace.
The families have lived in the three- bedroomed houses since 1988, raising their children and grandchildren.
But now they are fighting to be allowed to stay after the company handed them eviction notices in March, ordering that they leave their homes by next month.
“We are going nowhere,” said Freddie Jantjies, 29.
Jantjies’s father worked for Brick & Clay Cape for 32 years, before being retrenched last December.
Van der Berg and Jantjies said that although they had not paid rent over the years, company director Wayne Klaver billed them about R2 000 a month for electricity.
The tenants have all their invoices. In September, Van der Berg was forced to pay R2 341.85 for electricity he believes he didn’t use.
With the eviction deadline looming, the landlord disconnected the electricity supply at the end of last month, according to the residents, who say they have had to buy generators.
“Some of us have worked for the company for four decades, now he is throwing us out of the houses like dogs,” said Van der Berg.
Jantjies said the residents approached the provincial Human Settlements department, but were told that the issue was a private matter and that it could not intervene.
They had also turned to the ANC and the DA, without any luck.
Legal Resource Centre attorney Steven Kahanovitz, said that people could not be evicted without a court order.
Kahanovitz said the courts would not easily grant an eviction order “unless there has been meaningful engagement between parties, and alternatives have been discussed”. The authorities also probably had to be involved.
Despite repeated efforts to get comment from the company, manager Hendrick Louw said he was aware of the issue, but would not discuss it. – West Cape News
GOING NOWHERE: Pensioner Leonard van der Berg, left, who worked for a brick factory for 50 years, and Freddie Jantjies, whose father worked there for 32 years, fear they will lose their homes, which were built near to their workplace .