Naapsa threatens more land occupations if housing needs not met
THE National Association for the Advancement of the Aboriginal People of Southern Africa (Naapsa), which took over a plot of unoccupied land in Eldorado Park this week, has called on the government to raise funds for housing in the area.
If the government failed to meet the organisation’s demands, the association would take more land and its members would boycott next year’s local government elections, Naapsa leader Don Reese said on Tuesday.
Naapsa represents "aboriginal South Africans", who are defined as people of Khoi descent.
Mr Reese said the occupied land belonged to the people represented by Naapsa, and that the association did not consider its actions to be land occupation.
Naapsa had 10,000 members nationally, he said.
"We will engage with government on a process to build for people on the land."
Though Naapsa identified with the Economic Freedom Fighters’ land grab campaign, it had been using the "socialisation of land" as a tool to engage with authorities "long before the (party) was even formed".
"We are saying that we want an answer from government on whether they will build on this land before next year," he said.
EFF Gauteng spokesman Ntobeng Ntobeng said the party’s Johannesburg structures were speaking to the organisers of the Eldorado Park land grab about how they could partner in the party’s land occupation campaign.
However, he said the EFF disagreed with any notion of boycotting an election.
"Our main focal point is the implementation of land occupation but we encourage people to vote because the only way to address your concerns is to punish the (ANC) through a vote. It is the only way to make sure that government is kept to account," Mr Ntobeng said.
The DA’s provincial housing spokesman, Mervyn Cirota, said occupations continued because the Gauteng government "refuses to hear the voices and demands of the poorest of the poor".
If socioeconomic needs were not met, informal settlements would "remain a hotbed of political and social instability".
City of Johannesburg spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane said law enforcement agencies would monitor the situation on the ground as "a state of lawlessness and land invasions will not be tolerated in Johannesburg".
"There are national processes of dealing with land claims. People have been invited to make claims. But when people wake up and occupy a piece of land regardless of who owns it, it will not be accepted," Mr Modingoane said.