The eviction started in the early hours of the morning when the Red Ant members pounced on the residents, allegedly without giving prior notice. The Red Ants ordered them to vacate the building, after which they removed the people’s belongings and put them on Claim Street opposite the property.
Many residents were outraged and some of them cried hysterically, saying they were not given notice of the pending eviction. The residents said a court order was recently issued for them to vacate the building, but claimed they were legally opposing the matter.
The items the Red Ant members removed from the building and put on the street included mattresses, fridges, stoves and various electronic gadgets including plasma television sets. A bakkie was also seen towing a car out of the parking space, while other residents quickly removed their cars from the property.
Two young children covered in blankets were sitting on a couch, shivering desperately in the chilly morning air. A few other kids clad in school uniforms were standing next to them, with worry lines deeply etched on their faces. A number of police officers were on the scene keeping an eye on every move, while an unidentified man shouted at the entrance of the building that all the vehicles must be moved out of the parking space.
Resident Andile Mpofu could not contain her anger after Red Ant members repeatedly blocked her attempts to go into the building and fetch her belongings.
“I want my stuff and my passport. They are in there. Please, let me in,” she cried.
Another resident, Dinosi Nkala, said he was already on his way to work in a taxi and about 5km away when he got a call informing him about the eviction.
“I came back quickly to protect my wife and two children. I am worried about my furniture. It will get damaged or stolen,” he said.
The situation was still tense at about 10am, with the sound of crying babies echoing around the streets, and no-one seemed to know where the evictees would find another roof over their heads before dark.
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