/ 23 July 2014

Groenewald vs Mngxitama – the struggle continues

The Economic Freedom Front’s  Andile Mngxitama.
The Economic Freedom Front’s Andile Mngxitama.

The ongoing battle between Freedom Front (FF) Plus MP Pieter Groenewald and the Economic Freedom Fighters’s (EFF’s) Andile Mngxitama continued during the Rural Development and Land Reform budget debate in Parliament on Wednesday. 

Following a June report by the City Press that the two “had to be restrained after a near fistfight outside the National Assembly”, fresh reports have emerged about tensions between the two.

Mngxitama interrupted Groenewald’s speech, which was mostly in Afrikaans, on Wednesday, and accused the FF Plus MP of lying. Groenewald said black people stole land from the Khoi and San people.

The EFF member was then told to withdraw his accusations against Groenewald.

And was later thrown out of the house.

But it didn’t end there.

With EFF members up in arms over Groenewald’s statement about black people stealing land in South Africa – and some ANC MPs also upset by this – the FF Plus member conceded that black people didn’t steal land, but added that neither did white people.

In June, things got out of hand for the two during a short break in the National Assembly. 

According to the City Press report, “Groenewald walked past Mngxitama, who was standing outside eating. He went up to Mngxitama, pointing his finger, and touched him on the chest while trying to say something. Before he could say anything, Mngxitama shouted: ‘Don’t touch me! Don’t f***ing touch me. You stole our land and we want it back.'”

The two were later restrained. 

The EFF has made the notion of land expropriation without compensation one of its key concerns. The party believes that all land should be “transferred to the ownership and custodianship of the state in a similar way [to] … the [mineral Act],” according to an official policy document. “This transfer should happen without compensation and should apply to all South Africans, black and white.” At the May parliamentary swearing-in ceremony, Mngxitama told the Mail & Guardian that if the ANC supported them on land expropriation, the party would be willing to work with them.