Residents of Zwelihle, an informal settlement outside Hermanus, wait in the streets yesterday to hear when they will be given land. Thousands of residents went on the rampage on Monday, torching a police station, left, library and foreign-owned shops, after they were prevented from invading land.
Political parties might use the land issue to their advantage as the country heads for general elections next year, according to a political analyst.

He warned that more land protests could be seen in the coming months as some political parties tried to manipulate people’s high expectations for land, while other land occupations would be driven by people trying to be first in the line for the allocation of housing.

In recent weeks, the Western Cape has seen several incidents of attempted land occupations in Gugulethu, Philippi and Hermanus.

Last month the National Assembly passed a motion to have Parliament’s constitutional review committee examine the feasibility of amending Section 25 of the constitution which includes the “property clause”.

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said the parliamentary process under way was meant to manage the land issue and any tangible results from this process might only come after the elections in 2019.


“Political parties may either use the land issue to be seen to be popular and to be on the side of the people demanding land and housing, while others will try and pacify their constituencies," he said.

"But even parties that ignore it will be punished by their constituencies in the long run.”

Fikeni’s comments come amid a squabble between various political parties over the protest action in Zwelihle in Hermanus over land and housing. The protest turned ugly, resulting in a police station, a library and spaza shops being burnt down.

The DA accused the ANC of having a hand in the protest action, but the ANC denied the claim.

Irrespective of which political party was being accused, Fikeni said there was generally a sense of frustration among people over the lack of service delivery, including on housing.

“If political parties don’t move, people will move. They are tired of seeing the rich getting richer while they are suffering and experiencing inequality."

Weekend Argus