Police are reportedly investigating several cases of public violence and malicious damage to property following an attempted land grab last week, believed to have been precipitated by supporters of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
Last Tuesday, several hundred residents of Khayelitsha site B, led by EFF MPs Bernard Josephs and Nazier Paulsen, attempted to set up shacks on a plot of land near Nolungile train station in Khayelitsha.
Law enforcement officers soon tore them down, sparking a riot. The unrest moved to nearby Mew Way Street, with protestors stoning vehicles and burning tires and bins.
Khayelitsha residents who have been living in cramped, informal housing have grown increasingly frustrated with the slow provision of state housing, and some have accused the Western Cape government of using land for commercial purposes instead of residential ones.
Photographer ASHRAF HENDRICKS was there and captured these pictures.
The Khayelitsha land invasion was one of three that took place in the greater Cape Town municipality last week.
Mayoral committee member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen told the African News Agency that a “trend of political instigation” was behind the attempted land invasions and that the City would use “every available resource at its disposal” to prevent further incursions.
“We will make sure that those who are responsible for any incitement to violence, land invasions and other criminal acts face the full consequences of the law,” said Van Minnen.
According to ANA, the City of Cape Town has already laid charges against Paulsen.
Meanwhile, the EFF in Kwazulu-Natal has embarked on a similar series of land-grabs. This week one person died and three were injured during an attempted land invasion in Ballito, outside of Durban. Jackie Shandu, a senior EFF leader in KZN, said that the organisation would not be deterred by the removal of shacks from the land in question.