Cyril slams invaders

President Cyril Ramaphosa has laid down the law and called for stern police action against people invading government and private properties, calling their activities “radical economic robbery” and not radical economic transformation.

This was a thinly-veiled attack on the rogue activities of MK veterans and the Federation For Radical Economic Transformation in KZN.

Addressing black professionals during an ANC breakfast at the Golden Horse Casino on Saturday, Ramaphosa warned against those exploiting the party’s “radical economic transformation policies” to advance their “narrow interests”.

“Those invading offices are people who are hijacking and distorting our policies and we are saying the law enforcement agencies must act and deal with them. There must be consequence management in this country,” he said.

Ramaphosa was speaking against the backdrop of an increase in incidents involving mafia-style organisations in the invasion of government offices in Msunduzi and surrounding municipalities.

Members of the controversial organisations, including the Durban-based Delangokubona business forum that has been threatening managers of construction companies working on government projects with violence if members of the forum are not given a stake, have escalated their activities.

On Thursday individuals aligned to the controversial Federation For Radical Economic Transformation (FFRET) stormed the Health Department’s offices in Pietermaritzburg’s Natalia building, intimidating senior officials whom they accused of withholding tenders from them.

Ramaphosa, who had visited the province as part of the ANC’s campaign to gather the views of citizens ahead of the party manifesto launch, also lambasted individuals who had been grabbing private land.

“What these people are doing is not radical economic transformation, it is radical economic robbery — we can’t allow that,” he said.

Individuals claiming to be members of the Mkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans (MKMVA) and who recently hijacked flats at the Pietermaritzburg’s flagship Aloe Ridge social housing project had accused ANC leaders of denying them the “benefits of freedom”.

However, Ramaphosa said the ANC struggle for liberation was never about lawlessness.

“What we fought for is the rule of law — if there is lawlessness then there will be no country left,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, ANC provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala labelled those who have been invading government offices and construction sites as “criminals”.

“These are criminals trying to hijack ANC policies. They tried it during the liberation struggle but we defeated them. We are not going to allow them to re-emerge,” he said.

Meanwhile, it has since emerged that the Health Department has not laid any criminal charges against the FFRET members.

“We can confirm that no case has been opened,” said KZN police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala.

However, Gwala confirmed that the three MK war veterans who were arrested for last week’s disruption of services at the Mooi-Mpofana Municipality will appear in Mooi River Magistrate’s Court today.