Land invasions are a result of colonialism and apartheid

Land invasions are a result of colonialism and apartheid

The Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) of the ANC in the Free State province, in reaction to the land grabs swiping through the province said they have their origins from the colonial and apartheid era where black people were deprived of land.

Central to the land invasion matter, is the deprivation of land for black people based on pigmentation. The liberation party says it aligns itself with the Freedom Charter when it comes to land issues as total liberation can be realised when black people have land. But due to a discriminatory land use and spatial planning patterns which were creations of colonialism and apartheid rule, Mangaung Metro and other municipalities in the province are now dealing with the aftermath of discrimination against black people on land.

“As the ANC Free State, we support this freedom charter demand and we will be side by side with our people in the pursuit to have adequate housing and shelter as prescribed in the South African constitution. We, however, discourage the illegal occupation of any land outside the prescripts of our constitution,” said the Spokesperson of the ANC in the Free State Jabu Mbalula.

Some residents of Mangaung Metro invaded open land in Lourierpark, Bloemfontein at the beginning of March, on Friday, subsequently the municipality obtained a court order to evict the illegal land grabbers on 2 March 2024, however, the eviction delayed, in the meantime the invasion of land resulted into a stand-off with Lourierpark residents who said they now fear for their lives and property as in most cases, such situations are accompanied by crime.

On other hand, the land invaders said they waited for far too long to be allocated land by the municipality and were finally instructed by their ward Councillors to invade the land.

The DA on the other hand, said the land invasion is a political move to destabilize the DA run ward ahead of the national and provincial elections. The opposition party also submitted an application to the High Court to force the municipality to enforce the court order to evict the land invaders.

On 8 March 2024, Mangaung Metro announced that, after consultation with other stakeholders, they have deployed the police and the Red Ants to evict the people in Lourierpark. Many shacks were dismantled and people removed, while others were given time to vacate the land. There was weeping and wailing as the Red ANTS moved in to remove the land invaders.

Reacting to this, the PEC said the recent illegal land grabs as seen in Bloemfontein will only lead to undesirable outcomes which include inhumane forced removals, injuries and arrests which must be avoided at all costs as those who will suffer these undesirable consequences, are those whom the issue of land affects them the most and these are largely black people.

“We also acknowledge and understand that it was within the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality to seek a court order to ensure illegal land grabs do not take place on municipal property. The ANC PEC is disturbed by the approach to involve the “RED ANTS” as celebrated by the opposition parties, who notoriously are known to disregard any human rights wherever they are deployed to unleash their draconian theatrics to forcefully remove people,” said the PEC.

“We implore on all stakeholders in Mangaung to always ensure that the process of stakeholder engagement and thorough consultation in seeking amicable solutions, especially when it involves our people must always be central and that no authority must be seen to be beyond reproach or aloof towards the people’s plea as observed from the excitement by the DA,” it continued.

The ruling party in the Free State is not impressed with Mangaung Metro for using the Red ANTS to remove people from Lourierpark; instead, according to the PEC other methods could have been used in settling the matter of land allocation for human settlement.

The liberation party also acknowledged its contribution towards land invasion through delays in the allocation of land.

“We equally note that, the pace of land allocation for human settlement by both the Municipal and Provincial government has not been a desirable one, this has partly contributed to the events of the past week as witnessed in Lourierpark including in other areas across our province.

We also take stock that our economy equally has been facing challenges, which has not made it easy for government to have the required financial capacity to realize this critical demand for land and housing,” said the PEC.

The PEC says despite the challenges around land allocation for human settlement which include lack of bulk capacity for sanitation in some areas due to budget constraints, the Free State ANC PEC has instructed all our deployees at both the Provincial and Municipal government level to urgently within legal prescripts, convene to amongst others do the following:

– Coordinate and consolidate plans for land use and spatial planning. – Fast-track the availability of land allocation for those who are willing and are ready to build their own homes. – Urgently prioritize and ensure that the “awaiting list” of all government housing beneficiaries is dealt with for immediate allocation. – Ring fence and reprioritize departmental budgets to address shortages of funds for all human settlement departments at both the Provincial and municipal government. – Urgently capacitate human resource of all human settlement departments at both the provincial and local government where there is shortage, to ensure sufficient human resources to efficiently fast-track human settlement allocations and processes.

“We remain committed to ensuring that the colonial and apartheid land use and spatial planning patterns are dismantled, and this we will achieve working together with our people to ensure that our country is transformed and is truly united in its diversity.

We further appeal to community members to engage through laid down processes and procedures when seeking land for human settlement and other uses. This includes approaching Councillors and human settlement offices to be identified and enlisted as eligible beneficiaries. As the ANC, we remain committed to ensuring that the colonial and apartheid land use and spatial planning patterns are dismantled, and this we will achieve working together with our people to ensure that our is transformed and is truly united in its diversity,” concluded the PEC.


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