Siyanda Ndlovu was shot dead when the eThekwini Municipality’s security management unit and a security company opened fire on the community who were clearing land to occupy it.
Sandile Khumalo is currently in a coma.
Samantha Windvogel, the DA Shallcross ward councillor, said the words uttered by EFF leaders regarding land were the reason for these incidents in the country.
On Sunday, metro police removed to safety a man who led the steering committee in that ward. He was being held hostage by community members after being accused of calling the security management unit and a security company.
Tholithemba Mthiyane, EFF regional executive committee member, said he recently wrote to metro police head Steve Middleton and copied the chairperson of eThekwini Municipality’s security and emergency committee, on concerns about protests and how land invasion units handled public order.
“They need to relook their approach. Middleton responded saying, it would be investigated,” said Mthiyane.
He said he did not believe that “land occupation” incidents were being incited by the EFF and its utterances.
“The violence attached to these is concerning because it’s an attack on innocent people. And if this councillor believes that it is EFF people doing this, then it’s also an attack on EFF people. She must provide proof that those involved are EFF members. She should account for her statement,” he said.
Peace monitor Mary de Haas said she could not say whether land invasions had become more violent over the years, or whether the security authorities responding to them were reacting more violently.
“Obviously, if politicians use utterances recklessly then their statements can be used as justification. There have been allegations as well of the eThekwini Municipality’s land invasion unit overreacting violently.”
She said land invasions were classified as criminal acts and a public order policing issue.
“We don’t know how well trained these land invasion units are when it comes to public order. It is also not the role of the metro police as they enforce by-laws. As we know already, the SAPS need proper public order training,” she said.
De Haas said municipal land units should operate under the oversight of the SAPS when they respond to such incidents.
“Housing is generally badly handled by the municipality.”