'Brutalising the poor and most vulnerable': Mzansi weighs in on Red Ants demolitions
The Red Ants' approach of removing homes constructed in informal settlements in Johannesburg has been met with rage online.
More than a dozen shacks and brick houses in Lawley and Alexandra have been demolished and allegedly looted by the Red Ants, acting on the instruction of mayor Geoff Makhubo on Tuesday.
The structures had allegedly been built illegally after forceful land invasions, before the nationwide lockdown.
Videos circulating on social media show Red Ants demolishing houses while people try to collect what's left of their belongings.
TimesLIVE reported that a group of residents from Lawley applied to the high court, wanting the city to compensate them or rebuild their homes.
However, the court dismissed the application, saying they had failed to prove their case.
In a statement, Makhubo said the city would continue to act against lawbreakers who took over land illegally. He said police would arrest people who were illegally selling land they did not own to desperate individuals.
“We urge those who were defrauded and illegally sold land to come forward and report their cases to the police,” he said.
On social media, many, including former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, slammed the Red Ants' approach, saying it was “disgraceful”.
Brutalising the poor and the most vulnerable, rendering people homeless at a time when they need to "self isolate"!— Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) April 22, 2020
The first set of regulations approved under the State of Disaster, was to prohibit the evictions of people residing on public or private land.
THIS IS ILLEGAL! https://t.co/bQ9uatCrlb
The City of Johannesburg Council resolved to stop using the Red Ants until such time as their perceived brutality had been investigated!@GeoffMakhubo you must explain how you have enlisted the services of the Red Ants, against the wishes of Council. pic.twitter.com/Ui1n1FIMZA— Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) April 22, 2020
Here is a snapshot of what South Africans had to say on the matter.
Welcome to South Africa where politicians will send Red Ants to demolish poor people shelters during lockdown and say all the good things during election times. Come election times all parties will be talking giving people land and shelter. #RedAnts pic.twitter.com/xUl0TV56EJ— Melissa Nelly (@MelissaNe10) April 17, 2020
At some you also need to realise that you erred by sending red ants to demolish those houses during lockdown thus enabling lawlessness on your part ( stop justifying breaking the law )— Ntsako Mhlanga (@ntsakoboy) April 21, 2020
But those guys who work as Red ants are pure evil. How can you demolish someone's house while laughing. Hay shem I'd rather be jobless than to work as Red Ant ✋✋— Hnr ML LALA (@LucaM_Lala) April 21, 2020
Imagine telling people to stay home then you send red ants to demolish what they call home. Kgaa— Buyisiwe♡ (@TshanduMandisa) April 18, 2020