After Mrs Cele’s husband
died, the owner of the farm where she lives in Nottingham Road tried to evict
her and her children. Because she has no where to go, she defended herself and
has recently rejected the farmer’s offer of R3000 to settle out of
I left my home to come here and get married. I am from Bulwer and my
maiden name is Mtolo. I am now Zanele Cele I came here to this house in 1996 and
married at that time. My husband was working at the Defence Force in Mtuba. I
stayed here with the whole family while my groom was working for the lobola
arrangement. In 1998 I got married and we continued living here.
This farm we live on is the place we call home - there is no other place
for us to call home. This is the Cele home.
The father of this house, Nevada, started working on this farm in 1964.
He came originally from a place close to Incwadi. He worked on the fields,
ploughing and planting. He also worked in the dairy. In 1974, the farm was sold.
The farmer gave my father-inlaw money that was equal to the years he had worked
for him. That’s what father said. He continued working for the new farm owner
from there onwards.
At the time when father was old, very old, he started getting sick. The
farm owner said, “Hhayi, he should stop working” and that father should go and
look for a place to live. He said to my husband, Jettro, that he should go and
look for land, so that he can build a house for his father, because now he is
sick and cannot carry on working on the farm.
My husband went to look for land at Elandskop. There he found a site that
cost R850. But he told the farm owner that he could not pay for that site
because it is expensive, so we continued staying on the farm because we were
born here and grew up here.
In September 2001, my mother-in-law passed away. The farm owner said my
husband and I should take my father-in-law to stay at my home where I was born
because he doesn’t have a wife to look after him. But I cannot take my
father-in-law back home because there is another family living there - the Mtolo
family. He would have to carry on living here. I would be able to take care of
him here at his house. I thought, if the farm owner wants us to leave he should
find us a place where we would be able to go and live. He refused and did not
agree to do that. So we stayed and stayed.
In 2002, my father-in-law passed away. I was left with my husband. The
farm owner came and told us that we should take our belongings and leave because
we do not work for him. My husband said that he would be unable to do that
because this home he knows as his father’s and there is no other place he knows
as his home.
We continued staying and the farm owner said that he would open a case
against us. He gave us two months to leave. Then he came back and told us that
he no longer wants us in this house. They quarrelled and Jettro, my husband,
said that he can’t just kick him out like that because he knows that this is his
family’s place. We continued living here.
The farmer then stopped us from sowing our crops. There was a lot of
hardship. Most things we had not needed to buy because we grew them in the
garden and after harvesting we were able to live from that food. But now we had
to buy food. We did not live well because we couldn’t use the field he had given
The other thing that the farm owner did was to take away the three cows
that my father-in-law had. He kept these cows. Then he said he no longer wanted
the farm, he was selling it, and he sold everything, even my father’s cows. He
said he was going to put the money into Old Mutual. But even now he has not
given us that money. When my father-in-law passed away, he had not given it to
him and up until now we don’t know what’s going on with that money from the
cows. We ended up not getting anything for the cattle that he sold.
Through the taking of the cows we felt major hardship. The money from the
cattle could have been of great help to us. We would have been able to send the
children to continue with their education. Also, when father was sick, we could
have sent him to a hospital that we liked, but couldn’t due to no money. If only
the cattle were still around. Maybe he would be alive. We lost our cattle and
our cropping fields. We were left with nothing to live on.
But we stayed under that hard time. It was painful.
The farm owner then opened a case against us. Police kept coming to this
house saying that they had been sent to throw us out. He also sent a security
company to throw us out, even saying that we have to be beaten. Luckily they did
not beat us up because when they came they didn’t agree with the farm owner.
They asked us why we are still living here, then we explained why to them. Then
they were able to side with us, saying that they’d be unable to throw us out.
They said that the farm owner should build a house for us because this is our
place, or he should give us a deed of title.
So we carried on living here. In 2003, the farm owner kept on coming to
tell us that there’s a court case - it will take place, it will take place. But
just when we are ready for the case to take place, it doesn’t happen.
In October 2003, Jettro became sick. He got sicker and sicker.
The farm owner came to this house when Jettro was sick and in bed and
said that he had heard that Jettro is sick and is going to die. He told us just
like that. To me that caused a lot of pain because of knowing that you are
living with somebody who is going to die.
Jettro then went to hospital and passed away on January 21, 2004. When he
passed away the farm owner said that he was going to throw me out of the farm. I
carried on living here, expecting that at any time the farm owner was going to
throw me out. Then he said he was going to chase me out of here and demolish the
house. I told him that I am waiting for the case that he said he was going to
open against me. I said that I wanted to hear the outcome of the case - I can’t
just leave here without hearing the results of the case.
He then sent the police at night to check who I was living with - they
found me with a girl from home and a girl from my in-laws. He came to chase them
away, saying that he doesn’t want them here and that I should stay alone,
thinking that I would voluntarily go back home. But I continued staying here.
In July, he then said that a new farm owner would be arriving at this
farm. He said he wanted me to leave the farm so that when the new farmer arrives
I would be gone. I said that I wouldn’t be able to leave because I am still
waiting for the case.
He then came to demolish the house. He demolished parts of the house. He
said he would leave one side of the house that I am occupying until the case
I waited for the case. I was told that it would take place on July 13.
AFRA was helping me with my case. My legal representative said that my
father-in-law had applied for labour tenant status and that he was going to tell
the farmer’s lawyer because this should clear things up.
According to my knowledge, my father-in-law got paid little money to work
because certain things like electricity and rent were deducted from his wages.
So I am not clear whether he was a worker or a labour enant because he got paid
and he was given maize meal. The mother of this house also worked on the farm,
she worked for a long time on the farm in the kitchen, and I do not know whether
they were labour tenants or workers.
So I carried on staying here. Now I am waiting for the case to start — my
lawyer is going to inform me on when the case will be taking place. My lawyer
said that I should carry on living on the farm. I then asked him what I should
do if the new farm owner says that he does not want me on the farm. He said that
I should phone him. I should carry on staying until they tell me what to do.
From the time of the passing away of my mother-in-law, the passing away
of my father-inlaw and to the time of the passing away of my husband, Jettro,
the farm owner has done bad things to us. I’m not okay with it because really I
do not know where this is going to end.
There are many things that I am unable to do. I would like to go and
work, as I no longer have a husband. I do not know what is to happen if I go and
leave here. If I go in search of work at other places, maybe I’d find that I’d
be required to stay at my place of work. Then where would I be? What would the
state of this house be on my return because it might happen that the farm owner
would do whatever he will feel like doing to this house?
Living on this farm has been really hard for me. I do not like staying
here very much without knowing what is to happen about me. What he has done to
me is very painful. I do not know how I’m going to maintain my children because
the farm owner is infringing on my right to go and work elsewhere.