Grondbesettings gaan gepaard met geweld en rassistiese uitsprake teenoor eienaars. Daar is geen waarborge dat so ‘n persoon(e) se eiendom, huis of voedsel nie gesteel, afgebrand of gebom gaan word nie. Soms word daar na sekere partye verwys as rassiste wat onwettige strukture wil laat verwyder. Waarom is daar dan dubbel standaarde wat toegepas word as dit kom by besettings en grondeienaars. Die laaste paar jare ervaar Boere die realiteite met plaasaanvalle, verkragtings en moorde. Plaasaanvalle, gepaardgaande met erge martelings, getuig daarvan dat kriminele wederregterlik oortree op eiendom wat nie aan hom/haar behoort nie. Lyk hierdie mense wat so opdaag en beset, ondervoed of huisloos?
Terloops waar is die 5000 plus plase wat die regering al sedert 1994 aangekoop het met belastinggeld, dis nog nooit uitgedeel nie, waarom nie? Hierdie ander “sindikate” word dan aangehits om eienaars aan te val.
Geen minister of president van enige land gaan toelaat dat hul grond of besighede beset word nie, of vermoor word nie. Presidente en ministers word almal op die hande gedra en beveilig, terwyl daar gesmul word aan die boere se kos. Dus waarom moet enige boer dit toelaat en hul nie tot alles in staat verdedig nie. Dis selfverdediging, die boer het daardie grond wettig gekoop en so ook die besighede wat bedryf word. Eienaars op Elandsfontein moes verwyder word om hul te beveilig.
Wat maak Ramaphosa as daar 500 swartes sy plaas beset – gaan hy ook agteroorsit, of gaan hy soos in Marikana optree teenoor mense wat ander reeds aangeval, beroof of gebrand het? Indien moord plaasgevind het, of ‘n huis gebom, is dit te laat en soms word eienaars verplig om hulself met vuur te verdedig. Dit is tyd dat Boere met vuur antwoord.
Indien die munisipale owerhede en polisie dan weet daar is sindikate, hoekom word daar nie opgetree teenoor die “sindikate” nie. Indien hulle nie optree nie, maak beide hierdie owerhede hul skuldig aan misdaad om onwettige besettings en aanvalle op boere te loods. Daar behoort ook ekstra eise ingestel word teen owerhede omdat hulle nie na behore optree nie – lees die Grondwet oor lewe en beveiliging.
Dis ook nie die eerste keer dat daar opstokers of ander bekend as sindikate die land regeer en maak net wat hulle wil. Dit bly ‘n oortreding en misdaad om te steel. Dit is van geen waarde dat daar sindikate is nie, polisie moet hulle inneem en arresteer vir die dade wat hul doen. Al steel hul armes se geld, bly daar ander anargie betrokke, en dit is om eiendomme en besighede, voedsel af te brand. Dit is ook terreurdade. Net soos wat daar trokke landwyd afgebrand word, skades veroorsaak, word daar min af teenreaksies uitgevoer teen die skuldiges.
Groudup reported regarding the matter …
- Hundreds of people have flocked onto private land in Midvaal.
- They each paid a “donation” of R250 to a group of men leading the occupation who call themselves the Big Six.
- The Big Six say they will use the money to legally protect the occupation.
- The legal owners of the land say they have been threatened and fear for their families’ safety.
Some private agricultural landowners in Walkerville, Elandsfontein, Midvaal, say they have been subjected to assault and threats to their families by a group of men who call themselves the Big Six and stage land occupations.
Hundreds of desperate people have moved onto private land after they were sold plots. The Red Ants with Johannesburg metro police (JMPD) have demolished shacks, but the occupiers refuse to leave.
On Friday, the North Gauteng High Court granted an eviction order. After shack demolitions on Sunday, occupiers returned and according to a land owner tried to set some houses on fire.
One of the landowners, Clinton Gruar, said the past three weeks have been a nightmare. “We just woke up and saw land invaders helping themselves to our land. They broke plot fences and began allocating people portions of our land. When we asked what they were doing they threatened to fight us if we try to remove them,” he said.
“They have been protesting, blocking roads, and denying us access to the invaded area. They even tried to set some houses on fire. Residents have been assaulted and threatened; they are fearing for their lives,” said Gruar.
On Friday, dozens of cars were driving into the area. Food was being sold and some people were buying zinc sheets from the men in charge of land allocations. People told GroundUp word had gone around that land was up for grabs for a “donation” of R250. Some adverts were even posted on social media alerting people to come in their numbers and buy land. They said the land allocators had promised them legal protection and that the land would not be taken from them.
A man who gave his name as Letho Masoka said he was the founder of the land occupations together with five other people. They called themselves the Big Six.
“We decided to take this land because the land has been vacant for years and dead bodies have been dumped because there was no activity here. The landowners say they are keeping land for agricultural purposes, but we do not see any agricultural activity here.
“We are allocating the land to our people who desperately need it. The land is for free, but we are merely asking for donations of R250 so that we can pay for legal representation to claim this land. By occupying the land all the crime which was being committed here will stop,” said Masoka.
He said over 1,000 people had bought in and were coming from places such as Nelspruit, Soweto, Orange Farm and Vlakfontein.
“This is not a land grab, invasion or occupation. We as the community are taking back what belongs to us,” he said.
Masoka said he and his partners would start a “world war” if anyone tried to stop the invasions.
Kateko Maluleka from Vlakfontein said: “I bought a piece of land here because l am tired of renting. Ever since l came from my rural home in Giyani l have been renting. Rentals around here are expensive. By getting land l will save a lot of money as l have children.”
She said the people she bought the land from promised her that the occupiers would soon have electricity and water.
Khensani Chauke said she doubted that the project was genuine, but she just took a chance out of desperation. “My husband and l just paid because we desperately need it.”
She said they had once bought a piece of land in Snake Park near Soweto before they were evicted by the Red Ants. They then rented a place in Vlakfontein.
“Losing this land would be painful because the people who sold it to us told us that everything would be fine,” said Chauke.
Midvaal Mayco Member for Development Planning and Human Settlements Mokete Motsamai said that on 7 June he received reports that a land occupation was underway. “Even though we deployed Red Ants to demolish shacks two weeks ago the people refused to leave the land. They have been making excuses that our office has allowed them to continue with land allocations which is not true. We even met with them and told them to stop land allocations. On 19 June we obtained a court order which stated that the invaders were to vacate the land within 72 hours. We have deployed the JMPD to act on the order. We will do everything in our power to remove them.”
RED ANTS came and demolish shacks
On Friday, the North Gauteng High Court granted an eviction order. After shack demolitions on Sunday, occupiers returned and according to a land owner, tried to set some houses on fire. One of the landowners, Clinton Gruar, said the past three weeks have been a nightmare. “We just woke up and saw land invaders helping themselves to our land. They broke plot fences and began allocating people portions of our land. When we asked what they were doing, they threatened to fight us if we try to remove them,” he said. “They have been protesting, blocking roads, and denying us access to the invaded area. They even tried to set some houses on fire. Residents have been assaulted and threatened; they are fearing for their lives,” said Gruar. On Friday, dozens of cars were driving into the area. Food was being sold and some people were buying zinc sheets from the men in charge of land allocations. He said more than 1 000 people had bought in and were coming from places such as Nelspruit, Soweto, Orange Farm and Vlakfontein.
Masoka said he and his partners would start a “world war” if anyone tried to stop the invasions.
On 6 July 2020 the Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko has called for the invasion of farms in the province to come to end, saying that land grabs are a problem that hurt black farmers as well as their white counterparts. Illegal occupants were removed from a black-owned property in Elandsfontein on Friday 3 July, and the structures they put up were taken down following a court order in favour of the rightful land owners in the North Gauteng High Court. Mazibuko’s warning follows a spree of land invasions that been occurring with increasing frequency as lockdown regulations are relaxed in the province.
In Elandsfontein in Midvaal, south of Johannesburg, a crowd seized plots of land in what has the hallmarks of an organised invasion. Participants spoke of having been required to make payments of R250 (adverts were even placed on social media) and to being under the direction of a group of coordinators called the ‘Big Six’. One of this group – the only one identified in the media, who gave his name as Letho Masoka – said that they were receiving people from as far afield as Nelspruit.
Ramaphosa said in March 2018 ‘There will be no smash and grab,’ In April last year, he said that ‘the one thing that I’ve always said, that will never be allowed, is to have land grabs’. And, earlier this year, he promised: ‘Land grabs will not be allowed to happen in our country. We refuse to be reckless.’ In other words, no ‘self-help’ occupations or invasions. Yet events in recent weeks – official rhetoric or intentions aside – show this is exactly what has been happening.
In the context of the economic devastation left by the Covid-19 epidemic and the societal lockdown meant to combat it, intruding into property rights is to gamble with the future. This is a risk that at least some of those in power recognise. As a salve, the promise is that however far-reaching the changes may be, they will be done within the confines of the law, and under the direction of the state. (The ANC’s proposals for a constitutional amendment are nothing if not intrusive, as they envisage expropriation being put under the purview of the executive rather than the courts),
Farmers in the area expressed trepidation about what was under way. Not only was this a threat to their landholdings, but they claimed that there had been threats of violence. Said one: ‘They have been protesting, blocking roads, and denying us access to the invaded area. They even tried to set some houses on fire. Residents have been assaulted and threatened; they are fearing for their lives.’
Threatened to return
A court order against the invasion has provided some relief for the owners. But this is an ongoing issue, and some participants have threatened to return.
In Eersterus in Tshwane, a similar invasion occurred. Allegations arose that here too an ‘opportunistic’ leadership structure was behind the invasion, and here too, residents were fearful for their safety.
Echoing Ramaphosa’s earlier calls, human settlements minister Lindiwe Sisulu responded: ‘We are sending a stern message to our people that they will not invade any land, it is completely illegal.’ The minister’s words, like those of Ramaphosa, are heartening. The problem, however, is very real. It is also a long-standing one.
We at the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) have written extensively on land invasions, both as a concerning phenomenon in its own right and as a threat to the rule of law. A disconcerting part of this has been the manner in which the state has too often managed the problem.
The 2014 case of William Nyandu and his farm in Ekuthuleni, between Eshowe and Melmoth in KwaZulu-Natal is a good illustration. The farm – once a Lutheran mission, and the home for generations of Nyandu’s family – found itself under the covetous gaze of traditional authorities and some mining interests. Rather than being protected by the state (Nyandu had been trying to secure proper title), ultimately police were sent in, accompanied by an armed impi, to escort the family out. Their property was stolen and their homes torched.
In April last year, Emerald Dale Farm near Donnybrook literally came under siege after a number of disgruntled former employees demanded that the owners dismiss a handful of Zimbabweans in their employ. Then followed arson, intimidation, the mutilation of livestock and a blockade of access roads. A court order against 20 named individuals was obtained, but the police refused to assist the sheriff to serve the order, claiming to lack the personnel. The owners’ attorney remarked trenchantly that promises to keep land politics within the confines of the law looked very hollow when police commanders could decide whom to assist.
A few months later, a similar flare-up took place in the Mtwalume area of the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. The community living then under the auspices of the Mathulini Communal Property Association (MCPA), which had obtained the property through a land claim, came under attack – one again, violence, arson, the blocking of roads – apparently by a rival faction. Here, again, frustration was sounded at the inertia of the state, which had ignored warnings about the severity of the situation.
Land invasions feature, too, in the case of David Rakgase, the Limpopo famer whose nearly two-decade fight to purchase the state-owned land he was working has attracted much attention. Among his many tribulations was that a group of invaders had taken up residence on the farm – Rakgase believed they were paying rent to someone for this. He could not have them removed (not being the owner, he lacked standing in the matter), and government was lethargic in coming to his aid. ‘The government won’t protect me,’ Rakgase told a reporter. ‘Their officials are the reason my land was invaded in the first place.’
All of which gives a glimpse into a major threat to South Africa’s development prospects. Government needs to act firmly and consistently in dealing with this phenomenon. Indeed, land invasions present not only a central challenge to the country’s farming economy, but also to the possibilities of successful land reform, and also the stability of the country.
‘Biggest potential threat’
As Annelize Crosby, legal and policy advisor to Agri-SA, told the IRR: ‘My view is that large-scale land invasions are the biggest potential threat that farmers face, especially those farming close to the big urban centres. We have not seen many instances of such invasions yet, perhaps because landless groupings are not sufficiently organised.
‘If landless people lose faith in government’s ability to bring about land reform, or if the land question is further politicised, there is a danger that we may see more of these large-scale invasions, which in turn can easily turn into conflict. People whose very livelihood is threatened may react in unpredictable and even irresponsible ways. This is something that our country cannot afford.
‘It will have disastrous consequences. That is why we need an orderly and sustainable land reform programme that is seen to have an impact,’ Crosby said.
In the video tweeted by Mazibuko on Monday, the man in the video said that the farm had belonged to a black family for nearly 15 years, and condemned a culture of “black man targeting black man”.
“This piece of land has been owned by the family for the past 14 years. This week it was taken over by about 100 land invaders.”
“On the 4th of July, other countries celebrate independence, in South Africa and Elandsfontein we are fighting land invasion. A black man targeting another black man. Is that the liberation we fought for? Wake up, South Africa, wake up.”
Midvaal Mayor Bongani Baloyi said that in June, after a group of land invaders were initially removed from a property in the area – with the help of the South African Police Force (SAPS), South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and Johannesburg Metro `Police – that there is a syndicate at work elevating tensions between occupiers and land owners.
“Land grabbing here is at an alarming rate. There is a syndicate that is taking people’s money and playing with vulnerable people needing houses.
Following the aforementioned evictions, the group returned on Thursday 2 July and have since been removed again.
“We call on people to stop invading land. This is not Zimbabwe. We have a country here with laws that must be respected. This land is earmarked for an economic development corridor and residents are aware of it,” said Baloyi.
WHAT if there are syndicates – are the government not suppose to do something about criminals or syndicates? Look at their expensive cars – homeless? not a chance.
There is a syndicate in Lenasia & surrounds – emails have been sent by the community & have been forwarded to us – these thugs are allowed to take peoples land & the City is still allowing this.
Dit gaan al vir etlike jare aan, wanneer rewolusionêre swartes nie hul sin kry nie, word alle eiendomme, besighede, skole en universiteite tot op die grond afgebrand – nes tydens die Anglo Boere oorloë word identies dieselfde Britse afgebrande aarde patroon gevolg. Voedsel wat vernietig word.