Wings of Red Ants clipped after Alexandra demolitions

The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority has suspended the business registration of the company following the demolition of unlawful structures in Alexandra township in May.
The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority has suspended the business registration of the company following the demolition of unlawful structures in Alexandra township in May.
Image: Mduduzi Ndzingi

The notorious Red Ant Security Relocation and Eviction Services have had their license suspended by the regulatory authority in the private security sector.

Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority [Psira] announced on Monday that it had suspended Red Ants' licence to operate.

Psira said it had alerted Red Ants of its intentions and asked for representations from the company.

“After thoroughly considering all submitted representations, the authority resolved to suspend the business’ registration... The implication of this suspension is in line with Section 26(3) of the Private Security Industry Act 56 of 2001 which succinctly stipulates that once suspended, a security service provider may not render any service unless prior written consent from the authority has been obtained,” said Psira CEO Manabela Chauke.

Chauke added that the Red Ants were entitled to appeal against the suspension to the minister of police.

Reasons for the suspension of the license were not given in the official statement issued by Psira, however the company has been accused of committing a number of human rights violations during evictions.

In April this year, two people were killed when Red Ants clashed with residents during the eviction of people who had erected shacks at Damfontein Farm in Rustervaal, in the Vaal.

The next month, the Red Ants were part of the eviction of 80 families who lived in shacks built along the Juskei river in Alexandra. 

At the time, Red Ants claimed that they had acted on the instruction of the city and a court order obtained in 2016.

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba then ordered an investigation into the evictions.

Economic Freedom Fighters in Gauteng said they were elated at the suspension of Red Ants license, a company they described as “brutal and evil”.

“This move advances ours and that of affected communities’ fight against…land dispossession, constitutional and human rights violations, abuses, humiliation…and killings that marred the arbitrary evictions,” the party said.

Efforts to get comment from the Red Ants did not yield any positive results.


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