A radical housing plan which would see vacant rooms in Sandton homes sub-divided for the homeless of Alexandra is one of the proposals of the Black First Land First (BLF) movement.
“White people are always saying they are happy to live with us, this is the perfect opportunity to prove that,” national convenor of BLF and former EFF MP Andile Mngxitama told delegates at the movement’s launch conference yesterday.
It has been nine months since Mngxitama first announced the pro-black movement following his expulsion from the EFF. At the time it was unclear whether or not BLF would contest political power.
Speaking to City Press on Friday, Mngxitama said that the national leadership would put forward a proposal to delegates that they should in fact enter the political arena.
“We will use politics to end politics. The purpose of the movement is to overthrow white supremacy and to win back the land. We want to occupy the land, there is no solution outside of that.”
On the issue of current membership figures, Mngxitama said that every black person – even if they did not know it – was a member of BLF. He expected 1500 people to participate in the conference which is being held in Soweto.
At around 2pm yesterday, at least 300 had filled Uncle Tom’s community hall. While addressing delegates, Mngxitama apologised for the absence of some who the movement could not afford to assist in transporting to the venue.
“Members of BLF, you must get arrested. You are not a real member if you have not been arrested. You must feel the sting of a rubber bullet and teargas; that is where the struggle is. Not in Parliament,” he told delegates.
On the matter of housing, he said that it is not fair that some rich people in Sandton have ten bedrooms, many of which are unused. Meanwhile just down the road in the township of Alex, people had no homes at all.
One of BLF’s radical proposals is that people be taxed per room that is not used, in order to source money for housing for those without. Failing that, the empty rooms would be subdivided and those without homes would move in.
“We are idealistic, we must go back to big ideas.”
Another proposal – outlined in a 50 page document – is that the minimum wage be R12 500 across the board for all sectors.
BLF is willing to go into coalition with any political party in order to see their ambitious proposals be realised except the parties of “whiteness,” including the Democratic Alliance and the Freedom Front Plus.
Pastor Xola Skosana gave a brief address and mentioned that some callers on a radio show were not confident in Mngxitama’s capabilities.
“One said that Mngxitama cannot even keep a relationship.”
Despite this, Skosana was backing Mngxitama all the way and urged him to stay strong.