12 July 2001Landgrabbing
|And Mbeki promised
it won't happen here! Jacob Zuma though, our Vice-President, never made
such promises but actually encouraged Zimbabwe and specifically Robert
Mugabe's stance and his promotion of "landgrabbing".
As more and more impoverished and poor, jobless people flock to the cities for work, we must've expected this to happen sooner than later. The PAC (Pan African Congress) has been planning this for months - I'm sure. The main issue here is that all these people need a place to stay. Be it a shack or a house or a nearby farm. They want the ANC to deliver on it's promises of free housing for everyone. A promise we all knew the ANC could not deliver on. Then again, we're talking about un-schooled and gullible black people who voted the ANC in power on the basis of this and even more ridiculous promises.
The story is such -
The PAC has been looking at premises (land) to start their master plan with for quite some time (I'm sure) and decided on a property (or rather three) in Kempton Park. Now Kempton has it's own "townships" which obviously did not qualify for this exercise. The word was spread that the PAC will provide the land for a minimum fee of Twenty-Five Rand. This will make you a landowner with sufficient space to put up your shack and move your family there. This piece of land is 225 square meters. The land belongs to the government as well as two privately owned farmers. They (the PAC) obviously had a masterplan. Speak to the people and make them understand that our constitution prohibits anyone from removing them off this land once they've settled there. Not quite true, but close enough.
These poor suckers parted with their money, most probably raided some empty buildings for material and starting the process of "home-building". Not long after, the media got hold of the story. The farmers obvioulsy went to complain and the government eventually arrived at the party. Soon after this two government officials went to the site to speak with these people. Realising that the PAC was selling land that didn't belong to them, they were asked to explain. Quickly the PAC changed their story that the money was needed to provide the basics to the people (infrastructure for water and electricity). The ANC government now started feeling the heat and threat of a major stand-off with the people of the land. The same people they've been stealing from, the same people who voted them into power.
Needless to say, both ANC officials nearly got mobbed at the scene and had to make a hasty retreat. The next step was to apply for an urgent interdict to remove these "settlers" off the land. But our constitution says that alternate accomodation must be provided for such people. Not an easy task.
The courts decided eventually that the Four Thousand odd people must go. The fact that some of them have been staying there for some time there obviously did not influence the courts' decision too much. This morning all have to be gone. The PAC has obviously decided to talk to these people and confinced them to go peacefully. The PAC did a brilliant party promotion here with the homeless in demonstrating what can happen if they decide that the time is right. This exercise demonstrated that the ANC is not capable of delivering on their promises.
I'd like to know though, where did all these people come from so quickly? And where are they hoping to find a job?
Looking at the history of landgrabbing -
March last year some fifty people got evicted from a site North of Johannesburg. They were relocated to a site between Krugersdorp and Pretoria from where they're facing another eviction. Why move themthere in the first place!
Illegal squatters were evicted also in March last year from a site South of Johannesburg. Some of the Thousand are still there.
June last year the squatters targeted government houses which cost Six Million Rand to construct, but was never occupied. A Thousand again moved into these houses. Evicted? Who knows. This time it was Stellenbosch.
More than Five Thousand people illegally occupied land in Kwa-Zulu Natal, and a further Two Hundred moved onto an empty site near Sandton and Two Hundred occupied land on a private farm in Zandspruit North of Johannesburg.
Alexandra township saw hundreds invading low-cost housing meant for others (Six Hundred houses) and Two Thousand ignored a court order to vacate land illegally occupied in Kloof, an upmarket area West of Durban.
And people do get hurt. In October two died and nine were injured when they were removed from illegaly occupied land near Pretoria.
The best of all are all thses little "tribes" claiming restitution of land where big business is booming. A colored clan in the Cape now wants "profit sharing" from the management of the Cape Town Waterfront, claiming that it was their land. Who can dispute this? The Bushmen were here long before Jan van Riebeeck put his feet ashore. So were the Zulu's in Kwa-Zulu Natal. And the Venda's and Sotho's and all of the others making up the nine other official languages of our country. The English and Afrikaans only arrived much later.
Are they maybe forgetting that it's the same English and Afrikaans who are supporting this country and generating the bulk of the money? Are they forgetting that the Six Hundred kiloLiter of water now freely available without charge is being paid for by these same people? Or is it a question of going back Three Hundred years and live like their ancestors?
Looking at the rest of Africa you'll find that the people (talking black) are back where they were Fifty to a Hundred years ago. Is this the way this country is going?
You bet ya!