EFF ‘ironically’ fights to evict illegal occupiers in Boksburg

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leaders hold champagne glasses during the party’s final election rally at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on July 31, 2016 in Polokwane. Picture: Gallo Images

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leaders hold champagne glasses during the party’s final election rally at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on July 31, 2016 in Polokwane. Picture: Gallo Images

Some on Twitter have pointed out it’s a lot easier to call for illegal property occupations when it isn’t happening in your own living room.

Sunday night’s episode of Carte Blanche had some viewers, and even the insert’s presenter Macfarlane Moleli, saying it was “ironic” to see EFF members fighting to have illegal property occupiers kicked out.

The show in question focused on a residential complex in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, where several units were taken over by building hijackers who then even rented out the stolen properties to others. One of the kingpins of the process was allegedly a man from the Congo. Other residents described how they felt threatened by ongoing criminal behaviour from the unlawful occupiers, which included drug selling and violence.

Take a look at the clip below:

One landlord who owns a number of units told Carte Blanche that he had spent about half a million rand on legal fees in trying to evict the occupiers, but they would just fight their way back in to the units the moment the sheriff of the court and his team had left. They’d restore furniture that had just been removed too and would be willing to attack anyone who got in their way.

At one stage, they even confronted what look like armed and armoured police personnel. When Moleli went into one hijacked unit, he struggled to breathe because the occupants had pepper-sprayed it to keep people out.

“Refusing to pay for rent, electricity, water or levies – building hijackers take over bonded townhouses in a Gauteng estate, turning suburban bliss into a living hell,” was how Carte Blanche described the episode.

There was even the suggestion that a corrupt policeman was involved and taking bribes.

What struck many as strange, though, was a group of EFF members in their red T-shirts and berets taking the side of landlords and legal tenants in the complex and even getting into a physical confrontation with some of the building hijackers.

Paying tenants and owners said they felt terrorised in their own homes.

The EFF maintained they were against such hijackings and wanted law and order restored.

However, the EFF is often synonymous with illegal land grabs and occupations, and EFF leader Julius Malema has courted much controversy and is even facing prosecution for calling on his followers to occupy any vacant land they like.

The party has said, though, that it views urban properties with buildings on them as different, and these should not be expropriated without compensation.

The EFF has said in its policy documents and even in a “Frequently Asked Questions” article that it does not want to expropriate people’s homes (their houses and flats); it just wants to expropriate all land in South Africa.

Their public statements and policies have nevertheless led to some confusion and panic about EFF policies among some in the general public.

A few Twitter users were quick to point out that illegal occupation for the EFF is all well and good until the shoe ends up on the other foot.

Another said the EFF was being hypocritical because the hijackers were just practising a form of expropriation without compensation. “This is what happens when property rights are not protected!”

Another user, however, was impressed at what she’d seen from the EFF on the show.

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