Thu. Jul 18th, 2019

Red Ants point finger at City of Johannesburg in Alex Saga

Red ants johannesburgThe Red Ants say they only become involved when their services are specifically requested and commissioned by a political party or the courts.

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Red Ant Security Relocation & Eviction Services claim the order to demolish 80 homes in the Alexandra township came directly from the City of Johannesburg.

Red Ants only act on orders

The blame game was initiated by Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba when he visited Alex on Monday and claimed his office had no idea the demolition of 80 homes had been ordered.

This led the company to release a statement in their defence.

“Red Ants only becomes involved once its services are requested and commissioned by a party that has obtained a court order, and in turn becomes involved in order to assist the sheriff of the court and police authorities,” said chief operations officer Fuzile Balintulo in the statement, according to Sowetan Live.

“Red Ants only became involved in this matter when it was formally appointed by the City of Johannesburg as a service provider to counter land invasions, assist in relocating and eviction and the demolition of unlawful structures.”

However, the issue at stake here is not the legality of the demolition, the houses were built there illegally after all.

Instead, the Red Ants have come under fire for the way in which they executed the task, especially considering there was no contingency plan for families who had their homes destroyed.

Memorandum of understanding

The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSiRA) announced they will be launching an investigation into the Red Ants over the issue.

Chief Executive of PSiRA Manabela Chauke found the issue especially galling, telling IOL the “Red Ants ought to know how these evictions should be done within the parameters of the law.”

Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo also revealed the incident led to a meeting with the Red Ants in which a memorandum of understanding was signed which stated that the company would have to give residents 48-hours warning before any evictions take place.

Crossed wires

While Mashaba maintains his office was oblivious, City Manager of Johannesburg Ndivhoniswani Lukhwareni revealed he was aware of the eviction plan, but thought the houses were abandoned.

“From my understanding, the structures targeted were unoccupied, incomplete and those which were complete were unoccupied. That being that on the same day we released the disaster management [to help the homeless people],” Lukhwareni told Sowetan Live.

Mashaba has also come under fire from the ANC for promising residents the illegally constructed houses would be rebuilt by the City of Johannesburg.

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