Black First Land First (BLF) has said it’s “taking over” the Sodwana Bay Lodge in KwaZulu-Natal as a precursor to the party’s programme to revoke “apartheid-styled” land leases.
BLF members occupied the coastal lodge in a conflict that has since landed before the courts.
The party said it has a 12-month lease from the local Mbila Tribal Authority to run the lodge. The tribal authority owns the land on which the lodge is built.
BLF leader Andile Mngxitama said management failed to produce lease documents allowing them to operate on the land.
“They said they have an open-ended lease agreement, which they failed to produce at last week’s meeting. We are running that lodge. No one has been fired. We are not occupying the premises. What we are doing is a lawful running of business for which we have a legitimate lease with the Mbila authority. They must allow us to run that business peacefully,” Mngxitama said on Saturday.
The party would tackle all land leases dating back to the pre-democratic era, he added.
“Parliament has failed to expropriate land and give it back to the lawful owners, the black majority. We are fixing the country… this is one of the many more upcoming work as part of our BLF programme. All these Jan van Riebeeck leases of 1652 will come to an end.”
In a Facebook post on Thursday, lodge manager Herman Combrinck said there was “absolutely no situation at the hotel and the restaurant” and that everything was running smoothly. He told News24 BLF members were running the lodge.
“The staff is still here. BLF members are running the place. It is immaterial to me as to who the owner is. What concerns me is the intimidation, swearing and rudeness from BLF when they arrived. Most guests packed and left after that happened,” Combrinck said.
He dismissed Mngxitama’s allegations that management had no legitimate lease.
“There is a lease, otherwise the court wouldn’t have granted us the interdict.”