It has been reported in the media that some members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Nellmaphius in Tshwane made an attempt to grab land in what it refers to as the expropriation of land. In response to this attempt at land grabbing, the Tshwane Metro Police fired rubber bullets when attempts to remove the people was met with stone throwing from the land grabbers.
According to the Ward 86 EFF Branch chairman, Vusi Msiza, the shooting started after they had promised the metro police that they needed 15 minutes to get everyone to disperse. He further argues that they were shot at without provocation adding that several people were injured as a result of the rubber bullets fired by the metro police. He urged those that had been injured to come forward so that criminal charges could be laid against the police.
Commenting on the land grab itself, Msiza said that they were, as a branch, implementing their mother party’s policy of land expropriation which states that land needs to expropriated from its owners in order to benefit the poor. He added that they were prepared to fight to stay on the land. One EFF member who appeared to be at the forefront of the land grab, Eddie Mathiba said that they had a list of more than 6 000 people who were in need of land and they had said that whoever had a shack must just erect it and then names would be taken down later.
When asked to comment on the land grab in Nellmaphius, the EFF National spokesman, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said they supported the expropriation of land to benefit the needy but would not make a direct comment on the specific land grab in Pretoria East. He added, “If branches of the EFF have taken the initiative to join homeless communities, even if they are leading as we always said we will be at centre of community protest struggles… they are acting within the (ambit) of EFF policies.”
The ruling African National Congress(ANC) has condemned the land grab led by the EEF in Nellmaphius saying “The ANC Gauteng condemns the Economic Freedom Fighters for deceiving the people to grab land earmarked for low cost housing development in Tshwane Nellmapius…” This statement was made by the ANC’s spokesman in the area, Dumisa Ntuli who added that this was frustrating the efforts of the ANC to provide low cost and affordable housing for the people of South Africa. Ntuli further sounded a warning to the land grabbers saying, “The poisonous EFF policies of land grab have impoverished and left many countries destitute in the world and therefore cannot be copied in South Africa.”
The attempted land grab was confirmed by the Tshwane Metro Police Spokesman, Isaac Mahamba who said the the community members had attempted to occupy land that had been earmarked for the building of low cost housing and had to be forcibly removed. Mahamba said the police had fired rubber bullets when the people had started throwing stones at them. He said that no one had been arrested and could not confirm if anyone had been injured. He however said that the police would be watching to see that no one tried to occupy the land illegally.