Hundreds of people rioted in Knysna on Sunday, looting businesses and bringing traffic on the national highway to a halt.
An officer from the Red Ants was shot but was wearing a bulletproof vest and is not seriously injured, according to the municipality.
Chaos erupted after two shacks were demolished by the Red Ants acting for the municipality.
Knysna mayor Elrick van Aswegen said: “The buildings in question were illegal structures constructed on land not owned by the invaders.”
Lemco Garage and its shop at the entrance to Hornlee was looted, as was the adjacent Hornlee Hotel bottle store. Stolen wine was later recovered by police.
Southern Cape police spokesperson Capt Malcolm Pojie said stun grenades were used to disperse about 1,000 protesters.
Arrests and injury
At least four people were arrested for public violence. One police officer was injured.
The owners of the demolished shacks said they have been left destitute.
“I was sleeping when the Red Ant people came to destroy my shack,” said Irafaanshia November. “The people didn’t communicate with me. They just started destroying my hard work.”
November was retrenched during the lockdown. She had been staying with an aunt and 14 family members in a four-room house. She said there were already two shacks in the backyard so she had to find her own place.
She used her UIF payment to buy the building material, and moved in on Friday. On Sunday the shack was flattened and the material dumped in a field.