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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2005, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
Call to end S African evictions
People evicted from a farm
New laws have failed to protect farm workers
A South African land expert has said a recent study of evictions should be a "wake-up call" for the government to do more to protect black farm workers.

Marc Wegerif told the BBC the study, which found one million people had been evicted since the end of apartheid, showed the authorities were "too soft".

He said there had been little change in land ownership or access since white minority rule ended in 1994.

Some 80% of farm land is owned by whites, who are 10% of South Africans.

Mr Wegerif, whose Nkuzi Development Association helped carry out the three-year study, told the BBC's Network Africa that although new laws have been passed to help farm workers, these have not always been enforced.

The survey was carried out across South Africa and he said he was confident that the figures were "if anything, on the conservative side".

International competition

The rate of evictions has speeded up since the African National Congress came to power - with one million evictions in the decade from 1994, compared to 700,000 in the previous 10 years.

Despite the new laws designed to make it harder for people to be unfairly evicted, the study found that just 1% of those affected had lodged legal appeals.

The National Evictions Survey, which was also carried out by Social Surveys, was presented to parliament last week.

Mr Wegerif said international competition put pressure on South Africa's mostly white commercial farmers to cut costs and this often led to their workers being evicted.

"Property rights for white owners of land are protected in the constitution, so the government has trod softly but the findings of the study suggests far too softly," he said.

"We hope this is a wake-up call."

The government has recently said it will speed up the process of land reform, with more blacks being allocated land.

Under apartheid, blacks were not allowed to own land in much of South Africa.


SEE ALSO:
SA proposes quicker land reform
27 Jul 05 |  Africa
Diamond land claim in SA court
25 Apr 05 |  Africa
SA farmer wins land grab battle
13 May 05 |  Africa


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