The recent conflict in Protea Glen in Soweto has shone a spotlight on the land policies of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), after their leader has spent years telling his supporters to occupy any and all vacant land they may take a fancy to.
Julius Malema is currently facing prosecution on these comments under the Riotous Assemblies Act, which he is challenging on the basis that he believes it to be an outdated piece of apartheid-era legislation.
He and his party have called for all land in South Africa to be nationalised and placed under the custodianship of the state. They particularly want land to be expropriated without compensation from what they have termed illegitimate white colonialist settlers.
However, in what may be a case of reality meeting rhetoric, many on social media couldn’t help but notice that those opposed to the latest round of “land grabs” in Protea Glen on Monday were other black Soweto residents.
Yesterday, Protea Glen became an unlikely battleground in the fight for land as the invaders clashed with the established residents, who barricaded roads after another group from outside the area attempted to occupy vacant land in the area.
The residents were apparently concerned that if new shacks went up right next to them, it would affect their property values. The old principle of “not in my back yard” was very much in play, and police had to fire rubber bullets to attempt to control the volatile situation.
On Twitter, some users laid the blame at Malema’s feet, saying it was all very well for him to call for illegal land occupation when he was allegedly living in luxury in the suburbs.
Take a look at some of the reactions below:
I blame EFF ????????♀️ … this is an example of how messy our country will be if these ppl lead, we will never know peace while they sip champagne in the suburbs, Malema is out for himself and using poor people to accomplish his mission. Dear God, only you can help… #ProteaGlen
— Kgarebe ya Gafela ???????? (@urifhe) May 8, 2018
#ProteaGlen #ProtestAction if your house is not next to a shack, the best you can do is to close your mouth. We can't go out there and work so hard to be mixed with people who cannot afford what we can afford. They should do it at sandton next to malema's house
— Dingani Mabasa (@DinganiTroy) May 7, 2018
He claims to represent Africans in particular. He has been inciting his followers to grab land. His incitement has caused a conflict amongst Africans. What does he say about this? Has he gone to Protea Glen to clean up his mess? To break the embarrassing fight amongst blacks?
— Khulani Qoma (@KhulaniQoma) May 8, 2018
#ProteaGlen and #Vosloorus are more examples of @Julius_S_Malema catastrophic lack of good judgement. His antiquated ideology will lead to conflict and suffering of those he claims to want to help. He is only interested in accumulating power for himself and his cronies though.
— Free Thought (@SaysOrm) May 8, 2018
Protea Glen shares a boundary with Cooke Mining operations. The area is prevalent with Dolomites, is it safe to build there? There's a reason why there are construction laws in this country, to ensure the safety of citizens! Land occupation is not the solution….
— Thato Mohapi (@GTmohapi) May 5, 2018
(Black) residents of Protea Glen are fighting off (black) land grabbers. Residents are worried that the presence of land grabbers presents the following risks: depreciation of their properties and a surge in crime. If these property owners were white, we would be crying racism?
— Khulani Qoma (@KhulaniQoma) May 7, 2018
Protea Glen doesn't belong to u, land is for us all
— Screw'd head (@BrennyMasebe) May 7, 2018
We are in the land struggle right now my brother and we need to hold hands, protea Glen people need to lead this land struggle, cut big yards too, and sell houses, so they can get out of 20yrs bond slavery. Whites took the land now selling it back to you in a form of a bond
— ????Rre Motlhabane???????? (@motlhabanekp) May 7, 2018
So must we wait for them to destroy everything before we protest and let me not talk about degrading Protea Glen houses if you did business in school you will know better about the value of a property
— France (@francefortune_) May 7, 2018
Protea Glen residents is not isolated more communities want to join protest against land occupiers. I foresee ppl killing each other @CyrilRamaphosa @MYANC @Julius_S_Malema @BantuHolomisa Political leaders step in before someone gets killed.
— callmewhatuwant (@caelinbl7) May 7, 2018
DA blacks of Protea Glen think the poor majority who are living in shacks as criminals.
— Breaking News (@_Breakin_News) May 7, 2018
The classism of those Protea Glen residents, I can smell it all the way from Pretoria. Protecting abstract property values is more important than the dignity of compatriots.
— Joseph Moyo (@Joe990gpMoyo) May 7, 2018
Don’t blame #ProteaGlen residents for protesting and chasing those land grabbers. Let them go build their shacks next to Malema’s house in Sandton
— Mukololo Khan (@NaVhugala) May 7, 2018
When rich people of Protea Glen dont want poor people near them , kante they these people to occupy land in Kruger national park?History is repeating itself, the difference is this time is blacks vs blacks. #ProteaGlen
— MissRayMaake (@RagelRose04) May 7, 2018
Why do we keep shooting at people when they occupy land that belonged to their ancestors..why?
— Tony tornado Yengeni (@tyengeni1954) May 7, 2018
Property “value” is determined by desirability to invest in the area. Protea Glen people are correct to make the point that shacks will have a detrimental effect on the value of their (possibly) single largest investments. The state is to blame for failing to…
— Landless Mfana (@MfaniseniZuma) May 8, 2018