DA and EFF at odds over Brakpan land occupation

2018-07-05 08:30

An EFF-supported land occupation in the Old Brakpan township has elicited condemnation from the DA, GroundUp reports.

"This is a political stunt," says the area's ward councillor Brandon Pretorius.

Last week, GroundUp reported that the EFF facilitated a land occupation in the area. Metro police later removed the occupiers and their shacks were demolished. But some people have begun to return.

EFF leaders in charge have assured the reoccupation, indicating they will be taking the matter to court.

ALSO READ: EFF leaves Ramaphosa's budget debate after calling for the occupation of land

"They should stop encouraging people to occupy that piece of land unlawfully," said Pretorius. "The problem is that we are getting people from as far as Soweto occupying the land and at this stage, it is difficult to say who are the real beneficiaries for that land."

But people occupying the land want the councillor to address them in person.

"We have been waiting for the councillor to come and address us, but every time he sends metro police," says Lewis Sithole, one of the occupiers.

DA caucus leader for Ekhurhuleni, Phillip de Lange, has confirmed that a meeting will be held in two weeks in which Pretorius will be addressing the occupiers.

So far, about 30 people have finished rebuilding their shacks. Others are slowly coming back, hoping that they will not be forced to move again.

'This land is my only hope'

Martha Ntuli has started rebuilding. After her shack was demolished she, her three children and grandchild were accommodated at nearby shacks belonging to occupiers who are waiting for their case to be finalised in court. One of the occupiers allowed her to use a vacant shack on his stand.

Ntuli insists that it is time to rebuild. She is using cheaper wooden material to rebuild. Metro police confiscated her aluminium material, she said.

"Well-wishers have given me material to rebuild my shack. I cannot go back to my grandparents' home. l am too old to live with them now," the 37-year-old says.

Martha Nthuli and her daughter Simpiwe
Martha Nthuli and her daughter Simpiwe stand next to the shack that they are rebuilding. (Kimberly Mutandiro/GroundUp)

Ntuli had been renting a shack in Slovo, 5km from Springs. She had gone to live in Slovo after leaving a farm compound in Devon where she lived with her grandparents. A friend had told her about the Old Brakpan township land allocation.

She is a single mother and unemployed.

"This land is my only hope for giving my three children a home," she says.

ALSO READ: Land occupation: The police will get tired and you will get the land – Malema

Joseph Mthimunyi and his wife have also started rebuilding. They had been homeless before they came to the Old Brakpan location. They are now rebuilding a shack using cardboard.

"We cannot afford to buy anymore aluminium material. As long as the supporting poles are strong the cardboard box shack will do for now. If it rains, that's another story," says Mthimunyi.

Sesi Ndlovu, chairperson of the EFF in the ward, said they would oppose the demolitions in court.

"It is a violation of human rights to forcefully remove people from a place they have lived in for more than 24 hours," he says.

Read more on:    da  |  eff  |  johannesburg  |  land expropriation  |  housing  |  land

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