Social injustice has stoked the coals of an inherently violent society. Since South Africa’s transformation 20 years ago, backyard dwellers and others living in undignified housing conditions have been waiting for a suitable low-income housing solution.
A crucial issue: land redistribution to those whose property was taken from them during the apartheid era. Radical minority party the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) has tried to use this hotbed issue to gain political support from its affected target demographic. The party has declared that illegal land grabs are now part of its agenda and its priority will be running land occupation programs this year.
In the past month the EFF have led mass illegal land grabs occupying private, state, and in many cases, land that has been earmarked for building houses for the poor. Claiming that any unused piece of land “belongs the people," the EFF invites the disadvantaged to occupy and build shacks on the land. A flawed logic twisted to make the EFF look like South Africa’s very own Robin Hood.
In Khayelitsha Cape Town, when police moved in to evict the illegal occupants, predictably the situation descended into violent protest. Rocks where launched at police officers who reacted by spraying the angry mob with rubber bullets.
Disgruntled evictees then took to a nearby highway redirecting their projectiles to oncoming traffic causing cars to collide, endangering innocent lives including two toddlers caught in a wreckage.
The self-proclaimed revolutionary and leader of the EFF Julius Malema, responded to the chaos that his party has incited by saying, "Sending in police works very well in favor of the EFF because you are going to shoot innocent people who are not part of the struggle and the next thing you have mobilized them into the EFF, and come 2016 communities are angry and they will reject you during elections."
The EFF have been described as “masterful perpetuators of anarchy.” Although the EFF is a minority party they have still been voted by the people to occupy 25 seats in parliament.
The majority underprivileged population of South Africa are prime targets for the EFF’s brand of emotional manipulation.
Mistaking protest for progress they find themselves supporting a man who is willing to sacrifice innocent people to win an election.
Democracy is alive and well in South Africa; however, considering the nature and motives of the majority, should it be?
Matthew Klynsmith earned a business administration diploma at CTI in Cape Town, South Africa. He now works at Strategic Options as an associate partner. To read more reports from Matthew Klynsmith, Go Here Now.
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