The Economic Freedom Fighters in Gauteng says illegal land occupation in the province can be addressed by moving quickly to expropriate land without compensation.
“The sooner land expropriation without compensation can be effected so as land may be redistributed equally‚ the better‚” said provincial EFF chairperson Mandisa Mashego.
“The EFF adopted this land occupation programme at its first 2014 National Assembly held in Bloemfontein and it remains a permanent programme.
“As long as our Black people cannot get quality jobs with decent benefits so that they may afford to build or buy houses for their homes‚ as long as Gauteng has over one million hectares of land extent unaccounted for‚ the EFF will continue to stand on the side of the people to ensure that South Africa remains a home for Africans‚ who remain dispossessed in terms of agrarian perspective and economically‚” said Mashego.
There have been several land grabs in and around Johannesburg and Tshwane with authorities trying their best to stop people from illegally building shacks on unoccupied parcels of land.
And in the Western Cape‚ police were dealing on Monday with a violent backlash after a thwarted land grab over the weekend at Hermanus. At least 25 people were arrested in the town‚ on the southern Cape coast.
GroundUp reported on another land invasion at Du Noon‚ a township situated in Milnerton‚ Cape Town.
There have also been land grabs in Buffalo City in the Eastern Cape.
President Cyril Ramphosa called for law enforcement agencies to deal with illegal land invasions but the EFF in Gauteng brushed aside the warning.
Annelize Crosby‚ head of the Centre of Excellence on Land at Agri SA‚ said government had to move quickly to stop the illegal occupation of land.
“Most of these invasions are taking place in urban areas and not on farm land. The trend has obviously got burning. It should concern all South Africans and government. While the frustrations are understandable‚ we cannot tolerate a situation in this country where it is a free-for-all. That will end up in chaos for everybody concerned. Government needs to act quite quickly to try and prevent this from spreading even further.”
Crosby said the fact that illegal occupation of land was taking place in the cities was an indication that pressure points for land were more prevalent in urban areas than rural areas.
On February 27‚ a motion for land expropriation without compensation in the National Assembly was passed by a majority vote.
The matter was referred to the Constitutional Review Committee‚ which must report back to Parliament by August 30. The EFF had proposed that an ad hoc committee be established to review and amend Section 25 of the Constitution to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest‚ without compensation.
Section 25 of the Constitution – known as the property clause – states the government must make laws and take other steps to help people or communities to get land to live on‚ and to claim back land if they lost it after 1913 and because of an apartheid law.
While the parliamentary process continues‚ it is the cities which are faced with a spike in land invasions.
Political analyst Dumisani Hlophe warned that illegal occupation of land would continue as people who needed land for survival felt that politicians had failed to deliver on the promise‚ which was at the heart of the fight against apartheid.
“The masses will continue to their usual mode of attaining their own liberation. They will continue to go into this land which is empty and unused. They will not necessary follow procedure and all of that … because for them it is an urgent matter. It is a matter of life and death. For them it is a survival mode‚” Hlophe said.