Rampant land grabs championed by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will be addressed by stricter law enforcement, Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said on Wednesday.
“The EFF has mastered the art of perpetuating anarchy. I think that if that goes unchecked it is going to undermine order in the country,” Ramokgopa told reporters in Pretoria.
He said the city had acquired “a blanket court interdict” against land invasions. “Our view is that land invasion is a declared political programme of the EFF. They want to derail our plans and they want to gain political currency,” said Ramokgopa.
He said the EFF was spearheading informal settlements at several places earmarked by the city for housing development for poor people.
“We are raising this issue of land invasion because it has a number of consequences. The issue derails the progress of the work we are doing, it encourages lawlessness and anarchy, and most significantly it plays on the emotions of the poor.”
He said the municipality had sought the intervention of government to curb the frequent land invasions.
“One of the observations we have made with the infamous land invasions in Nellmapius is the significance that the people who invaded that land are not from the municipal boundaries of the city,” said Ramokgopa.
“These are people, for lack of a better word, imported from other areas to come and undermine our programme. It is important that we register a message that we are intolerant to land invasion because it undermines the roll-out of decent houses to our people.”
There were several confrontations between police and people who occupied a piece of land, which they named Malemaville, in Nellmapius, east of Pretoria last year.
The EFF in Gauteng announced this week that it would launch a programme to occupy vacant land this year.
“Top on our priority list are the land occupation programmes, which will see dispossessed communities taking ownership of vacant land as a means of empowering themselves,” said EFF provincial spokesperson Ntobeng Ntobeng.
The Gauteng provincial command team held its first meeting on Saturday, following the national people’s assembly held in Bloemfontein in December.
The national conference elected the party’s top six leaders and 35 additional members to the party’s central command team.
Among its resolutions, the conference called for the invasion of unoccupied land across the country.
The party’s commission on land and agrarian reform said those who had lodged land claims should occupy the claimed land. – Sapa