All the good about South Africans
vasgevang in alkolisme, kanker en 'n huwelik vol van
mishandeling, was bevry en het kragdadig by die Here
uitgekom. Eendag het sy verby die plakkerskamp in
Klapmuts gery en sy het gevoel om in te ry en te kyk wat
daar aangaan en hoe dit daar lyk. Wat sy gesien en
beleef het, het haar hart geruk en sy het besluit om
iets te doen daaraan.
Eviction of Farm Workers
The removal of farm workers is always an emotional issue. The kind of stuff election campaigns can be built on.
The developer paid many millions for the farm. A further many millions will be spent on developing the farm in an up market residential area. Itís a pity about the land that will be lost for agricultural purposes, but thatís progress, Iíd say.
Now there is this little problem of the six families of farm workers whose houses are smack in the middle of where the development is to take place. Obviously they canít stay there. But some of them have been there for a lifetime. Said the one man who has been living on the farm for 55 years: ďMister, Iím going nowhere before the bulldozers arrive. And even when they arrive, Iím not going anywhere either.Ē
Clearly a recipe for trouble. Thatís where my friend comes into the picture. He is an attorney. He does this kind of work. Labour law, and the legal eviction of people. [I notice, though, the contemporary politicians would always refer to even legal evictions as illegal evictions Ė it works nicely in election campaigns.]
A bit of a hassle. Fortunately the developer kept money available to resolve the problem. After all, court cases are expensive stuff.
My friendís wife is also an attorney in his practice. However, she would much rather have become a missionary than an attorney. My friend too, sort of. He is one of a rare breed of business people who does not measure his success to his income and turnover. This is exactly the reason why he can sometimes be a bit of a pain in the butt. After finalising a court case between two erstwhile friends (whose friendship went sour), he would not simply walk away and render his account like any other attorney. No, then he will start working on the erstwhile friends to see what can be salvaged of the friendship. Relentlessly.
So a new plan is forged. Many meetings. The developer is willing to increase the funding for the solution. Some more meetings.
My friendís wife studies the 45 page document that had been compiled about the effect that the development (and removal) will have on the six families. She goes out to meet them. She tries to learn to know them as well as she can, their styles, their preferences. Then she tackles the internet, Google Earth, newspapers. She visits real estate agents. She goes back to the six families. More discussions. This goes on for weeks. Eventually she identifies six houses in town, each choice based on how she got to know the six households.
Then she takes five of the families and goes to show them the houses that she picked. All her endeavours, and maybe above all, her heartfelt desire to match each family with a house taylor made for them, paid off. Five happy families return to the farm that night. The sixth family opted for another town. One Sunday afternoon they drive out to meet an estate agent and to view houses. Three vehicles full of excited spectators join the convoy. They too find a house.
Itís now a few weeks later.
The bulldozers will arrive soon. There is no conflict, no disputes, only excitement and expectation. About a new beginning, a new house, each head of the family to have his own title deed. Even a free testamentary will has been thrown into the equation for each, just to round things off.
Thatís progress, Iíd say.