Red Ants demolish ‘Dream Land’

The stranded residents of ‘Dream Land’ who lost their property after the Red Ants cleaned up everything they had, demolishing shacks, houses and even seized cement and bricks are addressed by their leaders. Photos: Lazarus Dithagiso

DE DEUR. – There were no eviction orders, no warnings and no rights! This is what happened when the Reds Ants demolished shacks, halfway brick houses and seized masses of unlisted private property.

More than 40 residents of “Dream Land’ settlements near De-Deur were mostly at work when their houses were wrecked last Wednesday. Four-room shacks that cost approximately R14 000 each were destroyed and even spades, cement, bricks and furniture were confiscated by the Reds Ants. The residents demand their property back, not to mention the R9 000 each they apparently paid to the Wildebeesfontein Evaton Community Organisation (WECO) for the stands on which their now-demolished shacks and houses stood.
The trouble started when WECO interposed in a situation between residents and the private owner of the land. Emfuleni Local Municipality (ELM), spokesperson, Stanley Gaba said that the people took advantage to illegally occupy the land and that the government was obliged to send the Red Ants to evict them: “People took advantage to illegally occupy the land. The next thing, they will demand services from the government. It is not about who the land or plot belongs to, but who will render the services.”
Not even one of the residents could provide title deeds for ‘their land’. “They always maintain that the title deeds are within the archives.” Later in the afternoon, the WECO executive committee went to beef up confidence in the disgruntled residents who had already lost hope.The residents applauded Mandla Nangalembe as their leader after he reassured them that they would get their property back. The evictions were blamed on the ward councillor. Nangalembe said that WECO is being targeted: “Land invasions are going to take place in the region.”
He threatened that, should the Reds Ants fail to return the unlisted ‘stuff,’ they seized, WECO would mobilise other members for mass action. The immediate concern of the residents is the return of their property which was not listed but simply taken by the alleged Reds Ants.

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