'Court order or not, we are not moving out'

Image: Dimakatso Modipa

More than 200 people who invaded flats in the municipal social housing projects in Mamelodi East are refusing to vacate the building despite last week's high court order ruling that they must move out.

They are now facing a deadline in three days to be forcefully removed from the three-storey blocks of flats in which they had been living since April last year. The invaders however told Sowetan they would not move.

The flats - with two bedrooms, kitchen, toilet and shower - are situated along the busy Solomon Mahlangu Drive.

They were invaded before they were fitted with taps and electricity meters.

When Sowetan visited the flats yesterday, many of the occupants were seemingly calm.

A resident who refused to be named said they have the support of the entire community as people who have occupied the flats were on the government's housing waiting list.

"We are not going anywhere; we will stay here and fight for these flats," he said.

Another said: "I was so shocked [when] we were summoned to come to court because in March 2019 there was an agreement between the community, ward councillor and city officials that they will give us 100 flats and stands."

They blamed their ward councillor Collen Marishane and city officials of making empty promises.

In April last year, more than 500 residents were evicted from the same block of flats by the Red Ants following an eviction order from a court.

The flats were invaded again over time until December.

On Friday, garbage was dumped outside Marishane's house after last week's court ruling.

On Saturday morning, a local ANC office was set alight allegedly by the flat invaders.

Gauteng MEC for human settlement Lebogang Maile visited the office and condemned "criminality by faceless cowards".

Marishane refused to comment.

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