The members of the Food Sovereignty Campaign are mobilising support for Jimmy Ockhuis, a Citrusdal farm worker who had his house and vegetable garden destroyed and his pigs stolen by Jannie Niewoudt, owner of Jamika farm where Jimmy Ockhuis has been living for more than 30 years. If a farm worker did these clearly illegal things to a farm owner the police would arrest the worker immediately, but as usual the police treats the owners who commit crimes with kid gloves. In 2005 a national survey of farm evictions by Nkuzi Development Association found that about 4.18 million people had been displaced, and about 1.7 million of these had been evicted. Only 1% of these displacements had involved a legal process. No farmer was ever arrested for these illegal evictions.
The Food Sovereignty Campaign is working to pressurise the departments of Justice and Rural Development and Land Affairs to intervene to protect the rights of Jimmy Ockhuis. According to the Extension of Security of Tenure Act workers staying for 10 or more years on farms have security of tenure. Like most other white farmers Jannie Niewoudt has chosen to ignore this law telling Jimmy Ockhuis ‘Fuck the law, this is my farm. I will do whatever I want.’ He must be arrested immediately.
Ultimately the Food Sovereignty Campaign believes the answer lies in direct action. Farm workers and their allies should mobilise to chase the Jannie Niewoudts from the land.
For comment or more information contact:
Johan Jantjies 0790277853
Andries Titus 0765116614
Jimmy Ockhuis 079 262 9806