Cops laugh as Red Ants destroy shacks

STRONG-HANDED : A land occupier in Dali Mpofu View in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, is dragged away by security guards commonly known as Red Ants who, together with Tshwane metro officers, had demolished the shacks PHOTO: MOHAU MOFOKENG
STRONG-HANDED : A land occupier in Dali Mpofu View in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, is dragged away by security guards commonly known as Red Ants who, together with Tshwane metro officers, had demolished the shacks PHOTO: MOHAU MOFOKENG

TWO men were severely injured during running battles between the Red Ants and residents of Dali Mpofu View in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria.

The Red Ants used crowbars, batons and sticks while the metro police officers who accompanied them stood and laughed.

Whistles were blown to alert the invaders who then scattered in the area salvaging what they could carry before the Red Ants destroyed their properties.

Some carried pieces of corrugated iron sheets and doors on their heads, others used vans and some dragged their belongings to "safety".

Vusi Nhlapo sustained head and body injuries. He was lifted and dumped near the metro officers with blood oozing from his head. Nhlapo was later taken away by a metro police van.

Peter Maruping and Mpho Maila complained that they were left homeless at the weekend without warning.

"I have no home. This land has no owner. My shack was destroyed and furniture taken away by the Red Ants. We were never informed in advance to dismantle our shacks," Maila said.

George Sithole lashed out at the government, saying that it only loved them when it was election time.

"This is not what we voted for. Our government is attacking us and does not want to see us owning properties. They are using our fellow black officers and Red Ants to destroy our lives. There is no democracy here. I will never vote for the ANC again," said Sithole.

Metro police spokesman Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said the land was privately owned and the owner Willem Nel had obtained a court order against the land invaders.

Mahamba said there were about 150 shacks erected on the land.

"The city is against land invasions. We will make sure that whoever grabs land illegally is going to be evicted. We know who the instigators are and will engage with the community that they are being used by a certain group of people."

Nel said he obtained two court orders against the invaders and he served them with one on Saturday and they disobeyed it.

He said the invaders took more than 200 hectares of his 2800 hectare farm and he owned wild animals, including hyenas and lions, and he feared for the safety of the animals and that of the community.

"The land is mine. My cattle is grazing here. I have more than 500 cows and they have stolen the fence and other materials I had used to prevent them from taking my land. They must leave my land," Nel said.

ntwagaes@sowetan.co.za

 

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