Reports of baby trapped under rubble during Alex evictions untrue, say cops
Gauteng police have denied reports and allegations that a five-month-old baby was trapped and killed during a Red Ants demolition operation in Alexandra on Friday.
"There is no such, we do not know where the allegations come from. We have been on the scene all day, if something like that had happened, we would have seen or heard," said the provincial spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele.
During the operation, several residents complained of the violent manner in which the evictions were conducted.
"We were not given a notice of what is happening. They just got here and demolished, a child even went missing... we don't know what is happening, we don't know where we are going to sleep today, we don't have houses," a resident told the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
The City of Johannesburg said it was with "deep regret" that it had been alerted about the demolition operation conducted by the police, the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) and the Red Ants.
The city said the purpose of the operation was to remove illegal structures which had been constructed along the waterline within the area and which posed a safety risk.
"Based on currently available information, it would appear that the operation may have been conducted without the requisite processes being followed," said the city's leader of executive business, Funzela Ngobeni.
The city said it had ordered a full investigation to determine whether the operation was conducted within the ambit of the law.
"If not, the city has committed itself to ensuring that the strongest forms of accountability take place at JMPD," said Ngobeni.
The city said it had embarked on a process of ensuring that those affected by the operation were provided with relief to 'safeguard their well-being'.
"As a city, we seek to protect the well-being of all residents. The fact that such an incident has occurred is deeply regretful and those responsible will be held to account," said Ngobeni.