Neighbouring communities clash over land grab attempt

Staff Writer | Apr 17, 2019
Residents clash with land grabbers in a violent confrontation that pits neighbours against one another.

Residents of Rabie Ridge in Gauteng clashed with ‘land grabbers’, blocking a road with rocks and burning tyres on Monday. The residents don’t want people from neighbouring communities to occupy a piece of vacant land.

The so-called land grabbers said they would take the empty land by force. One said: “We want to stay here in this open space. This space [does not belong to] anyone, [it belongs to] us. Now we as the EFF, we want to occupy this space. Now the coloured [people] here in Rabie Ridge, they don’t want us in this space.”

The standoff prevented some members of the community from going to school and work on Monday. It was reported that residents reacted to the threatened land invasion by throwing stones at people they call land grabbers along Modderfontein Road, and at passing cars.

Police intervened, firing rubber bullets in a bid to control the situation.

The Rabie Ridge confrontation is the latest of a number of clashes between residents or owners of property and land invaders in the past few months.

On several occasions in the past six months, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said the government will not allow land grabs.

In November 2018, he assured German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in South Africa on an official visit: “Our country is based on the rule of law. We have got strong institutions that don’t only protect investors, but people.”

Ramaphosa said South Africans had shown a willingness to use the courts to challenge the government. “Land reform is conducted through the most judicious manner in our structures, including Parliament,” he said. 

 

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