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07.05.2019 South Africa

S.Africa Opposition Supporters Find Free Home In Juju Valley

By Fernanda PESCE BLAZQUEZ
Juju Valley is a settlement on the outskirts of the northern South African city of Polokwane and is named after Julius Malema, founder of the Economic Freedom Fighters party.  By GUILLEM SARTORIO (AFP)
MAY 7, 2019 SOUTH AFRICA
Juju Valley is a settlement on the outskirts of the northern South African city of Polokwane and is named after Julius Malema, founder of the Economic Freedom Fighters party. By GUILLEM SARTORIO (AFP)

Welcome to Juju Valley, a shanty settlement in South Africa, where some 600 families live in neat rows of shacks built from corrugated iron sheets and tidy gardens.

As the entire country prepares to vote on Wednesday in the sixth general election since the advent of democracy, nearly every shack in Juju Valley is festooned with bright red posters supporting the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters party, set up by South Africa's firebrand opposition leader, Julius Malema or "Juju".

The vast plot of dry and dusty land on the outskirts of the northern Limpopo city of Polokwane was, the party says, donated to EFF by a private owner three years ago.

There is no electricity and no running water in Juju Valley, but residents live here rent-free. By GUILLEM SARTORIO (AFP) There is no electricity and no running water in Juju Valley, but residents live here rent-free. By GUILLEM SARTORIO (AFP)

The EFF's flagship policy is to seize land from white owners without compensation and give it to poor blacks.

Since then some 600 families have moved here. There is no electricity and no running water, but the residents don't have to pay any rent.

"I don't have to pay rent, so that's why I love Juju Valley," says Esther Letsoalo, an EFF supporter and fast food business owner who moved to Juju Valley after losing her job.

The EFF's flagship policy is to seize land from white owners without compensation and give it to poor blacks. By GUILLEM SARTORIO (AFP) The EFF's flagship policy is to seize land from white owners without compensation and give it to poor blacks. By GUILLEM SARTORIO (AFP)

The residents say they all know each other well and help each other out when in need.

They claim the area is one of the rare crime-free settlements in South Africa.

Godfrey Mattatse is unemployed and says he will vote for the EFF because they have given him and his wife a rent-free shack.

"The EFF is the only party (that) has been fighting for us", he says.

Polls suggest the EFF could double its share of the votes in the general election on May 8. By GUILLEM SARTORIO (AFP) Polls suggest the EFF could double its share of the votes in the general election on May 8. By GUILLEM SARTORIO (AFP)

Polls suggest the EFF -- which won six percent of the votes in 2014 just nine months after it was set up -- could nearly double that on May 8 vote by tapping into the anger of millions of poor, unemployed black South Africans.

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