ILLEGAL LAND GRABS AND VIOLENT PROTESTS IN ENNERDALEDate: 2018-07-10
Ennerdale residents have grown impatient, saying that the government has not kept their word with regards to land reforms and have started illegally erecting shacks on empty land.
The south of Johannesburg has been fraught with violent protests in Eldorado Park, Finetown and Lenasia which resulted in residents looting shops and dozens of people arrested over illegal land grabs. The Gauteng Human Settlements department has threatened to arrest residents who occupy land illegally. Even a 60-year-old resident has started to build her own shack, insisting that she will not be labelled as a criminal, and only wants to fulfil her dreams of being a homeowner saying, “We’re willing to take the risk. Rather die because we’re tired of waiting.”
The government's promises to deal with the housing shortages date all the way back to May with seemingly no progress but, Human Settlements MEC Uhuru Moiloa, dissuaded residents from illegally occupying land. The land in Ennerdale is littered with corrugated iron although the land itself had been reserved by the government to develop housing – but residents are impatient with their demands remaining ignored.
Farouk Jardine has gathered residents that have taken part in the illegal land grabs and says he’s told at least 3,000 more residents to set up their homes. He says that “there was bold interest by Sanco [South African National Civic Organisation] and the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters].”
Residents claim they don't fear the threat of being arrested and that they will fight the government. However, the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) task team coordinator, Sihle Zikalala, claims that land expropriation will focus on commercial land that will be able to economically benefit South Africans, "We have always been clear. We want expropriation without compensation. We have been saying that since (the ANC's June policy conference). But we want commercial land to economically assist black people in particular."
The government claims that the land will be used for commercial production in order to create jobs for a largely unemployed population.
Proper processes are being put in place to ensure fair land distribution but Ennerdale residents who currently reside in houses in the area have called on the police to take action.