Lawley evictions are illegal during lockdown, says Lindiwe Sisulu

Human settlements minister says she will drive from Cape Town to Johannesburg to handle the matter herself

21 April 2020 - 13:40 By Aphiwe Deklerk
Lindiwe Sisulu said: 'I am driving back to Johannesburg to attend to that area where Red Ants have been removing people’s shacks ... it is illegal now to remove any shack.' File photo.
Lindiwe Sisulu said: 'I am driving back to Johannesburg to attend to that area where Red Ants have been removing people’s shacks ... it is illegal now to remove any shack.' File photo.
Image: Trevor Samson

Human settlements minister Lindiwe Sisulu has condemned the evictions of people from informal settlements by the Red Ants in Gauteng, saying the move was illegal.

Addressing a meeting of parliament’s portfolio committee meeting on human settlements, water and sanitation on Tuesday, Sisulu said the law prohibited all evictions.

Sisulu, during a question and answer session of the virtual meeting, said she was going to address the matter personally.

This comes after Red Ants demolished around 80 shacks in Kokotela informal settlement, in Lawley, and evicted a number of people.

Sisulu had previously issued a statement warning municipalities against carrying out evictions during the national lockdown.

MPs had asked Sisulu to clarify her department’s position on the evictions which have grabbed media headlines. Similar evictions were seen in Cape Town where law enforcement officials demolished a number of illegally built shacks in Khayelitsha.

Sisulu said this week she had gone to Cape Town to deal with the matter and had reached an understanding with the city.

“I am driving back to Johannesburg to attend to that area where Red Ants have been removing people’s shacks ... it is illegal now to remove any shack.

“If they wanted to remove them, it is unfortunate right now it is not possible. So there will be no Red Ants and I will be going there,” said Sisulu.

She said she would communicate with the portfolio committee after her visit.

Sisulu said she had gone to Cape Town because she was requested by the human settlements mayoral committee member, Malusi Booi, to talk about a problem with certain informal settlements regarding land invasions.

Sisulu was referring to evictions of people being carried out by the city of Cape Town at Empolweni informal  settlements in Khayelitsha, after alleged land invasions.

Sisulu reiterated that evictions were illegal during the national state of disaster which was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last month.

She said she indicated to the community in Lawley that their eviction was illegal in a bid to bring about calm after residents went on a protest.


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