'It's like asking me what can I do to avoid getting raped?' – EFF Gauteng chair irked at Alex inquiry

2019-06-06 13:58
EFF Gauteng chairperson Mandisa Mashego and EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

EFF Gauteng chairperson Mandisa Mashego and EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

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A question which a South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) panel member raised at the Alexandra inquiry, which suggested that the EFF's approach to land occupation contributed to human rights violations, has irked EFF Gauteng chairperson Mandisa Mashego.

"Is the EFF looking at rethinking or tweaking the way in which it calls for land occupation?" senior legal officer at the SAHRC, Princess Ka-Siboto, asked during the inquiry in Johannesburg on Thursday.

But Mashego, who was making submissions on behalf of EFF leader Julius Malema, expressed concern.

"I am disappointed by this question, you are representing the HRC. You should always engage us from the point of human rights, not from the points of the aggressor – it is like asking me what can I do to avoid getting raped.

"I am worried about that question," Mashego said.

The third sitting of the Alexandra inquiry, which commenced on Monday, seeks to investigate alleged widespread human rights violations and corruption in troubled Alexandra following protests in April over socio-economic issues. 

ALSO READ: WATCH: Alexandra shutdown over service delivery

The third-largest political party in the country appeared before the inquiry on Thursday to make submissions regarding land occupation - which forms a part of its founding manifesto. Malema has called for land occupation on numerous occasions. 

This submission comes in light of "illegal structures" that the Red Ants and Johannesburg Metro Police demolished on Friday, leaving the land occupiers of 80 homes displaced.

ALSO READ: Alex demolitions: Mashaba vows to act against officials who gave the nod to destroy houses

The SAHRC cited submissions from Alexandra residents which allege that the EFF's land occupation encouragement was a factor in human rights violations in the areas within Alexandra that were not suitable for development. 

But, in response, Mashego explained to the commission that land expropriation without compensation was a call which the political party intended to intensify, but which was not unique to or originated by the EFF.

"We are going to intensify our struggle for land expropriation without compensation until it is equally distributed to our people. I must emphasise that to you. 

"Land occupation programmes were not started by the EFF. Townships such as Soweto expanded because of land occupation. We boast that Soweto is the largest township but we forget that it is large because of land occupation," she added. 

The inquiry continues.

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