Two lawmakers were at the forefront of an illegal land invasion by Cape Town people yesterday.
Economic Freedom Fighters MPs Bernard Josephs and Nazier Paulsen led residents of Khayelitsha site B in invading unoccupied land near the Nolungile railway station, in site C.
Josephs is the EFF’s Western Cape leader in parliament; Paulsen is a member of the provincial legislature.
Scores of residents were illegally allocated plots. They immediately chopped down trees to make way for their new homes.
The two leaders were greeted by residents shouting “Viva EFF” and singing in praise of EFF leader Julius Malema.
Cape Town has been on high alert since last week when rumours surfaced that the Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement and the EFF planned to invade Rondebosch Common. Ses’Khona, however, has distanced itself from the invasion.
Josephs criticised the government’s land policy, saying that it was ineffective and led to gross mismanagement of state resources.
The residents said they did not want RDP houses and demanded that the government provide roads, water and electricity on the seized land so that they could build their houses themselves.
Josephs said: “This is not ideal [conditions] for our people to live in … the people have no choice but to do what they are doing … I support this action.”
He said the mandate from the people of Western Cape was that “we should grab the land”.
“We are even considering going further than the African areas. We are looking at the leafy suburbs. We have identified land in those areas but we must have a strategy [so that] when people wake up there is a new town.”
The targets included Rondebosch Common and the state-owned land near Pollsmoor prison.
Resident Asanda Mbangatha said she had joined the land invasion because she needed her own house and privacy.
“When my mother and brother take a bath, I have to go outside.”
JP Smith, a member of the mayoral safety committee, accused Paulsen of incitement and vowed to stop the building of houses on the invaded land.