POLITICAL NEWS - The sincerity of President Cyril Ramaphosa and Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela’s promises not to tolerate land grabs is in question after an Economic Freedom Fighters-led illegal land occupation occurred on a municipally owned farm in Metsimaholo over the weekend.
The EFF illegally occupied Mooidraai farm in the Free State.
EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu said on the scene they would turn the farm into a residential area in five phases. The lack of reaction raised the ire of the Democratic Alliance (DA), which condemned the ANC-run municipality for allowing the EFF to become a de facto government in Metsimaholo without winning an election.
“This is contrary to both Ramaphosa and Free State Premier Ntombela’s commitments during the State of the Nation Address and State of the Province Address, respectively, that illegal land grabs would not be permitted,” said Roy Jankielsohn, DA MPL in the Free State.
The land grab coincided with a visit to the province by a delegation from an ad hoc committee to introduce legislation amending section 25 of the constitution.
The committee held public hearings on land expropriation without compensation in Bethlehem on Saturday.
Shivambu received a hero’s welcome as he and other EFF parliamentarians led the occupation and addressed the crowd at Mooidraai. On Twitter afterwards, he said: “When time progresses, we as the people of Mooidraai must sit down and decide what name do we give to this place because it cannot continue to be called Mooidraai. We must get a proper progressive name that comes from the people.”
Jankielsohn commented: “The EFF’s unwillingness to wait for an outcome of the parliamentary processes or that of democratic elections for government is a test for the ANC ’s authority.
“This latest development in Metsimaholo has become an ideological stand-off between the EFF and the ANC to determine who the real government is. Ramaphosa and Ntombela cannot afford the nationwide chaos that will erupt if they follow the soft-handed approach of National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise towards the EFF.
“Now is the time for the president and premier to commit to the rule of law they have both promised.”