Thanks to government intervention, a woman whose life was made unbearable on the farm where she was born has found peace and security.
Julia Morulia Masilela (46) and her family are finally living in peace after many years of clashing with farm owners who attempted to evict them from a farm in Dorsfontein in Gauteng.
Masilela, who was born and raised at the Dorsfontein farm, told Vuk’uzenzele that life was fine until 2007 when the farm was sold.
“The owner made our lives miserable. We had livestock and he did not want our cattle to graze around the farm. He tried to evict us on many occasions. It was such a painful experience because it was the only home I had ever known. My family went through so much turmoil,” she said.
She said the farm owner did not want her family to have visitors or for the children to play around freely. In 2012, Masilela’s father passed away and things became even worse.
“We were threatened with another eviction,” she said.
“The owner then sold the farm to another farmer in 2015, and the new owner also wanted us to leave,” she added.
The Masilela family opened a case against the farmer and reported him to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform in 2016.
It was only through the department’s intervention that the two parties managed to reach an agreement.
The Gauteng Provincial Shared Services Centre of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform ensured that the family’s tenure was restored.
Through the Extension of Security of Tenure Act (ESTA), the department managed to broker an agreement with both parties for an off-farm settlement.
“In terms of the arrangement with the family, the department agreed to assist in identifying land outside the farm and the owner agreed to build a house for the family once the land had been secured,” the department said.
The department and the family identified land in Sokhulumi in the north east of Tshwane and the farm owner has built a house for the Masilelas.
It is a three-bedroom house that has a kitchen, lounge and a bathroom.
“I am happy to have left the farm because we used to live like we were in prison there. Even though I do not have a job for now, I live peacefully without being harassed by anyone. I have no worries,” said Masilela.
The mother of two said her sister’s children will come to stay with her next year when they register for schools nearby.
Masilela still has cattle but has arranged for them to be located elsewhere because she does not have space for them at her new home.
If you have a similar problem and live in Gauteng contact the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform on 012 337 3671/3672