Carrie Esterhuizen and her two small children were in the hostel at the Cremona Cheese Factory in Tshepisong‚ Johannesburg‚ when angry land occupiers set the building alight on Friday afternoon‚ May 25.
Her husband Fredrick Esterhuizen told GroundUp he had been working for the factory as a security manager for about a month.
Carrie Esterhuizen and the children‚ aged four and 11 months‚ were at home when the occupiers‚ residents of EbuMnandini informal settlement in Tshepisong‚ broke the fence and set the building alight. They were not hurt.
The residents had previously tried to occupy the land next to the factory but the Johannesburg Metro Police Department demolished their shacks on the same day. The owner of the land‚ Antonio Cremona‚ filed for an eviction order in April. The case was heard in the South Gauteng High Court and an interim eviction order valid until September was granted.
“My wife phoned me and all I could hear was frantic screaming so I rushed down to the house‚” said Fredrick Esterhuizen. “I managed to grab my wife and kids just before one of the petrol bombs exploded in the lounge.”