24 April 2019

South Africa: 'If They Want War, We Will Give Them War', Say Ironside Land Occupiers As Red Ants Arrive

Photo: Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp
Red Ants demolish a shack occupying private land in Dunoon on Thursday.

A group of land occupiers in Ironside, Vereeniging, have threatened violence against the Red Ants who were in the area on Wednesday to evict and demolish their shacks.

The group told News24 that they had occupied the land last month and that no one was going to remove them. The piece of land they have occupied belongs to the Midvaal municipality.

The municipality has obtained an eviction order against the group to vacate its land, which is earmarked for economic development.

From early on Wednesday morning, residents took to the streets and set tyres and other objects alight.

Around 08:00, scores of Red Ants came in 15 trucks and other vehicles. They parked outside the De Deur police station, awaiting orders from their seniors to begin evictions.

Public Order Policing members also arrived at the police station to escort the Red Ants, so they could execute the evictions.

We are ready to die

"This is our land. We are not going anywhere. If they want war, we will give them war," said a community member armed with a spade and who refused to be identified.

Community leader Sayyid Ahmed Kgaole echoed the sentiment, saying they were prepared to die should the Red Ants demolish their homes.

"We want our land. We are going nowhere. Midvaal municipality didn't follow relevant steps when they obtained their court order. We are challenging them in court not to evict us. On April 13, the municipality dropped their court order at a single shack. Not everybody was handed that eviction order," he said.

Kgaole claimed they had gone to the high court to challenge the eviction order.

"The municipality is aware that we are challenging their eviction order in the high court. We have an advocate who is representing us pro bono. On June 27, our matter will be heard in court, but the municipality wants to evict us," he said.

Member of Mayoral Committee for Development and Planning at Midvaal municipality, Mokete Motsamai, said the occupiers had to leave.

He said the land in Ward 6 was earmarked for an economic civic centre.

"Two weeks ago, we obtained an eviction order and we served residents with it on time. We gave them time to vacate our land and they are refusing. The land they have occupied has no services at all and we don't know where they obtain services from. Those people are not from Midvaal and we don't know where they are from.

"We don't condone land invasions in our municipality. We have laws where people who want houses must properly follow them," said Motsamai.

On April 10, two people lost their lives when residents of the Ramaphosa Village informal settlement in Rus-Ter-Vaal, also in Vereeniging, clashed with Red Ants who were evicting them from their informal settlement.

Source: News24

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