For­mer fac­tory work­ers face be­ing thrown out of homes

We are go­ing nowhere– res­i­dent

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - PETER LUHANGA

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

PIC­TURE: PETER LUHANGA/WCN

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 .

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