The Department of Land Reform has successfully managed to acquire permanent accommodation for 12 families who were evicted by the owner of a farm near Ventersdorp in the North West.

The group – comprising of 51 members, including 20 children –  with all their belongings were evicted almost two months ago, and were forced to spend two nights on the street.

They are currently being accommodated in a community hall at Tshing township in Ventersdorp.

The plight of the families was exposed by SABC News two months ago. Since then, both national and provincial government authorities have intervened.

Efforts to secure permanent accommodation for them, seems to have yielded positive results.

The Department of Land Reform has managed to purchase a 205 hectare farm in Hartebeesfontein near Klerksdorp worth R1.4 million.

The Department’s Director for Tenure and Reforms, Richard Sebolai, explains: “We have identified a property by the name of Hartebeesfontein, it’s in extend of 205 hectares. We have already finalised all the processes of acquiring this property. We have signed sale agreements, we have submitted your guarantees to the conveyers who have been appointed by the owner of the property. Our branch special land use management have already drawn a plan which actually shows where the settlement is going to be.”

The provincial human settlements department is also on board. Its Chief Director, Tshepo Phetlhu, says they are assisting the affected families by building them temporary houses.

“We looked at our programme and we said let us assist the 12 families that are evicted through a programme called the emergency housing programme. To that end we then appointed service providers to do same, which as we speak the service providers are on site. They started to construct houses and we are hoping that they will conclude soon.”

Commitment to providing basic services

Matlosana Local Municipality Ward councillor, Mathapelo Seitisho, says her municipality will provide basic services to those relocated.

“We will just provide our community with water, sanitation and also electricity, because we are still using the temporary structures. Where there is a need for permanent structures, we will also be there,” says Seitisho.

Spokesperson for the evicted workers is 54-year-old, Julius Moeketsi.

He has expressed their gratitude for the intervention.

“I am very happy because that is what we really needed, as our living conditions in that hall are very bad particularly during this winter period.”

Government officials are optimistic that the relocation of these families will be completed late next month.