Residents of Westenburg woke up after the long week-end to see shacks emerging on the perimeter of their suburb as land invaders that are claimed to be supported by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), queued to get their names on a list of new home owners.
When Polokwane Observer visited the area opposite the entrance of Westenburg from the Matlala Road on Tuesday, a large crowd of prospective home owners were gathered on the site where five shacks were already built. Martha Verveen, who claims to be an EFF member, was busy compiling a list of names and telephone numbers of people to be allocated stands. Further on another lady was reading out the names of people that registered on Monday, requesting them not to register again.
According to a source on site, Jossey Buthane, Provincial Secretary of the EFF, addressed the crowd just after lunch on Tuesday. Polokwane Observer recently reported that EFF Secretary General, Godrich Gardee, in an exclusive interview confirmed that the EFF will support landless communities as and when they occupied unused land.
â€œWhen you identify unoccupied land, unused land, land lying fallow for over a long time and then we have landless people who are staying in residential areas like rats and animals. Then they must go and occupy that unoccupied land, unused land,â€ he said.
Ezekiel Adams, a resident of Westenburg, told Polokwane Observer that he does not want the EFF there. Owen Kemp, a resident from New Pietersburg, said that he supports the EFF and wants a home. â€œThe ANC has given me nothing and I want a job as well,â€ he said.
Percy Adams does not support the land invasion and says that there are legal ways to obtain a home.
â€œThe EFF gave people the right to grab the land and we do not want them here,â€ he reckons.
Daniel Nelson wants to live near Westenburg because of the safety of the area and the proximity of schools and public amenities such as a police station.
Tidimalo Chuene, Communications and Marketing Manager of the municipality, commented as follows: â€œThe municipality is aware of the unauthorised land occupation that has been taking place at Extension 40, along the Matlala road near Westernburg. Stakeholder engagements and consultations are underway towards an amicable solution to the issue. The municipality will issue a statement as soon as all the immediate legal and relevant land use related processes are satisfiedâ€.
Buthane could not be reached for comment at time of going to print.