As always, the Red Ants came early in the morning.
They were there to demolish the shacks and chase the people off the land.
But this time the shake dwellers fought back.
After the deadly clash, sobbing men and women in red overalls stood around the body of one of their fellows lying in the grass.
A shack dweller also reportedly died in the battle.
The Red Ants had come to the area at dawn following a court order by the Emfuleni Municipality to remove illegal dwellers from the new Cyril Ramaphosa squatter camp, but the residents resisted.
Speaking to Daily Sun, shack owner Mzwakhe Mhlophe (38) said he was sleeping when he heard a loud noise. “Then I could hear people breaking down my shack.”
Mhlophe said all he wants is a home for his children.
Another shack dweller who lost his valuables during the eviction, Peter Adams, said he is shattered.
“I have been living in the Vaal area for 11 years,” he said.
“It’s sad how the government bulldozes us following their own empty promises. I lost everything in the eviction and I am broken.”
Emfuleni municipal spokesman Stan Gaba issued a statement regretting the loss of life.
“People have been invading land in the area in recent weeks. To curb the mushrooming of structures on the land, the municipality obtained a court order to remove the land invaders.The area is dolomite land and people can’t live on it,” he said.
Gaba added that the municipality will start their own investigation into the matter.
Two houses belonging to community leaders in Rust Ter Vaal near Vereeniging, south of Joburg were vandalised.
“There is a heavy law enforcement presence in the area and the relevant authorities have started their investigations,” said Gaba.
Human Settlement MEC Uhuru Moiloa said: “I call for calm in the area and for people to leave the land they have invaded to avoid further clashes,” he said.
“It is time that those who initiate land invasion are also prosecuted as they are the ones who led the people to their death.”
Provincial cop spokesman Captain Mavela Masondo said the bodies were taken to the Kopanong Hospital mortuary in Vereeniging.
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