Red Ants’ business suspended over Alexandra demolitions

Desperate Alexandra township residents salvage what was left of their homes, residents whose illegal structures were built too close to the Gautrain lines and demolished by workers of the Red Ants, 3 June 2019. Picture: Itumeleng English / African News Agency (ANA)

Desperate Alexandra township residents salvage what was left of their homes, residents whose illegal structures were built too close to the Gautrain lines and demolished by workers of the Red Ants, 3 June 2019. Picture: Itumeleng English / African News Agency (ANA)

The regulator said it was appalled at how the demolitions were carried out and that it demonstrated disregard for the human rights of those involved.

The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority has suspended the business registration of Red Ant Security Relocation & Eviction Services after an investigation into alleged callous demolitions of homes and shacks in Alexandra township.

“The implication of this suspension is in line with section 26(3) of the Private Security Industry Act 56 of 2001, which stipulates that once suspended, a security service provider may not render any services unless prior written consent from the authority has been obtained,” said Manabela Chauke, CEO of the regulatory authority.

Chauke said that during the suspension, a service provider was bound by the obligations of a registered security service provider as stated in the Act.

“In terms of section 30 of the Act, a security service provider is entitled to appeal against a suspension to the minister of police,” he added.

The Red Ants demolished over 80 shacks in Alexandra, leaving scores of people homeless and residents maintained the illegal shacks should go.

The regulator said it was appalled at how the demolitions were carried out and that it demonstrated disregard for the human rights of those involved.

The owners of the demolished shacks said the Red Ants arrived unannounced and started breaking down their homes.

However, the company rejected allegations that the demolitions were unlawful, saying it had a court order authorising the removals. The company said it only became involved in the Alexandra evictions after it was appointed by the City of Joburg to counteract land invasions.

The City has denied this.

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said at the time that the political directive to demolish the structures did not come from him. He said the city would initiate an independent investigation of the processes leading to the demolitions.

He promised to help residents rebuild their homes.

Chauke added: “Although the authority is not privy to all the underlying facts in this case, we reiterate that security service providers may not do anything that is outside of the law.”

He added that the Red Ants should know how to conduct such evictions appropriately.

gcinan@citizen.co.za

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