One dead in Ballito land grab attempt

The owners of land targeted by the EFF in Ballito, have accused the party of using this exercise to "gain publicity".

The owners of land targeted by the EFF in Ballito, have accused the party of using this exercise to "gain publicity".

Published Apr 14, 2015

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Durban - Land invasion by the Economic Freedom Fighters went horribly wrong on Monday when a woman was run over by a bakkie and three others were injured on the N2 near Ballito.

A group of people had built makeshift housing structures on a vacant piece of private property on Sunday afternoon, said police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker.

The land is near the N2 freeway turn-off to Ballito.

Police did not say which political party had been involved into coaxing people to grab land, but the EFF has claimed that it is part of its policy to grab land not being used.

Over the past week its members have been actively engaged in helping the homeless occupy land, including in Ballito.

Police were alerted and the group was dispersed. The landowners then removed the structures the same night, but the group returned on Monday, allegedly stoning passing cars.

“Upon dispersal (Monday), a motor vehicle travelling northwards on the N2 hit four pedestrians suspected to be part of the group which erected the structures. One pedestrian was killed and three were seriously injured,” Naicker said.

Umhlali police are investigating a case of trespassing and culpable homicide.

Paul Herbst, spokesman for IPSS medical rescue, said they had responded to the incident. He confirmed four people were struck by a vehicle.

“Two patients had been treated for moderate injuries. One had been declared dead on the scene. A third patient was treated by another ambulance service. The injured were taken to a nearby hospital,” he said.

The land the group had invaded was owned by a consortium of North Coast residents and was earmarked for residential and commercial development, a source said.

A spokesman for the consortium, Trevor Milstead, called the land grab “silly” and declined to comment further.

The EFF’s provincial chairman, Vukani Ndlovu, released a general statement saying the party was driving its Land Occupation Programme. He did not comment specifically about Ballito.

Ndlovu said the programme was part of the EFF’s founding documents and “seven cardinal pillars”.

“As a Fanonian party we take seriously the words of Frantz Fanon. The first and most important thing for oppressed people, not only because it gives food and shelter but also that it restores dignity, is the land,” Ndlovu said.

He said the EFF had already earmarked unused portions of land where they were helping people to settle.

The DA’s spokesman on housing, Hlanganani Gumbi, said the Ballito land grab should be treated as a criminal act.

“The party lurches from one cheap publicity stunt to another. This could harm the economy and investor confidence,” he said.

Gumbi said there was an urgent need by the provincial government to establish an anti-land invasion unit.

“Our province cannot afford a situation where people believe that invading land is justifiable or leads to faster housing delivery when in fact, it does the opposite.”

Daily News

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