Alex Mitchley, Ernest Wolmarans and Sapa
1 minute read
15 Jul 2014
6:00 am

EFF ‘behind’ Zandspruit eviction pain – MEC

Alex Mitchley, Ernest Wolmarans and Sapa

The Gauteng human settlements MEC has claimed that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) may have paid people to pretend to be affected residents during the Zandspruit informal settlement evictions.

Jeanette Xhonyiwe, a mother of two cries as members of the Red Ants dismantle her shack, 9 July 2014, in Zandspruit, Roodepoort, during the second day of demolitions in the area. Xhonyiwe’s children are aged 1 month and 11 years old .Picture: Alaister Russell

Dozens of people who claimed to be living in some of the 114 shacks demolished by the Red Ants Relocation and Eviction Services, during an operation mandated by the City of Johannesburg last week told The Citizen they had been given no notice of eviction.

The Red Ants, so-called because of their red overalls and red helmets, have been criticised for alleged use of heavy-handed tactics when carrying out evictions.

“After the story came out in the media, I got panicked calls from the higher structures of the ANC asking why we were allowing such things [alleged evictions] to happen,”  MEC Jacob Mamabolo told The Citizen when approached for comment on Tuesday.

He claimed the EFF may have paid people to pose as affected residents to score ‘political points’.

WATCH: Emotions run high as Red Ants tear down Zandspruit homes

The EFF’s Dali Mpofu however challenged the MEC to substantiate his claims.

“Those allegations are … untrue. We were called by the residents of Zandspruit; we had no idea what was going on,” EFF legal officer Zuko Madikane said.

Legal researcher and advocacy officer Michael Clark said if people were living in the shacks, the city should have obtained a court order so as not to leave people homeless.

Agreement signed

On Monday the Red Ant Security and Eviction Services company and Mamabolo signed an agreement that the rights of the poorest and most vulnerable — the elderly, children and the disabled — should be protected during evictions.

Mamabolo said the agreement would not stop eviction orders being carried out, but would ensure that those affected were not denigrated in the process.

The Red Ants agreed to give the department 48 hours’ notice before carrying out evictions.