Eusebius McKaiser puts the Red Ants under a microscope

Chaos erupted last week after the Red Ants destroyed homes in Johannesburg's Marlboro Gardens, leaving many people homeless.

The company has been known to carry out evictions by any means necessary.

Read: 'The instruction to demolish didn't come from my office, it came from JMPD'

However, who are the Red Ants, and what are they constitutionally mandated to do?

Do they even have a mandate? Who owns the Red Ants and what is their modus operandi?

To put the spotlight on this security company, Eusebius McKaiser speaks to Right2Know communication rights focus organiser Lazola Kati and Socio-Economic Rights Institute litigation fellow Khululiwe Bhengu.

We see a lot of violence when there are legal and illegal evictions. We see a lot of violence in the social justice sector but the kind of abuse that comes with the Red Ants chills you even as an activist.

Lazola Kati, Communication rights focus organiser - Right2Know

She says the Red Ants is a private security company that was founded by a farmer called Johan Bosch.

The company works with both national, provincial municipal and private clients.

Kati adds that the company has had six brutal cases over the years against it, where people have been beaten up and killed.

Everywhere the Red Ants go people are sexually assaulted, raped, dragged on the street and their belongings are stolen. But still, in this country where our Constitution is the leading one globally, the Red Ants have thrived to a point where the metro police call them on-site to clean up and demolish shacks of the poor.

Lazola Kati, Communication rights focus organiser - Right2Know

Private clients require the Red Ants services when people occupy a client's land or property and need to be moved. The company comes in and demolish structures and there is no mediation involved, she says.

It doesn't seem like there is a mediation point at all, all we see is a client would say get off our land and out of nowhere the Red Ants arrive early in the morning and start demolishing homes. In many cases, they don't give people a chance to get off the property. They steal things and they break stuff. There have been instances where they physically removed children violently off properties.

Lazola Kati, Communication rights focus organiser - Right2Know

Questions have been raised as to what rights do citizens have when it comes to being forcefully removed by the Red Ants.

Bhengu says whenever the Red Ants effect evictions, they do it under the instruction of the sheriff of the court in that particular area.

Also read: EFF wants Ipid, Public Protector and SAHRC to probe Alexandra demolitions

When there is a court order authorising for eviction of people and the sheriff effects it through the Red Ants, then the sheriff should be accountable for everything that the Red Ants do while conducting the evictions.

Khululiwe Bhengu, Litigation fellow - Socio-Economic Rights Institute

She says the Red Ants' job is to protect properties without violating people's rights as that is criminality.

The law says if you have someone who is illegally occupying a property and you want them out of your property, you need to get a court order because of Section 26 of the Constitution that says: "No one may be evicted from their home without the order of the court."

Khululiwe Bhengu, Litigation fellow - Socio-Economic Rights Institute

She adds that it is not just a matter of getting a court order, but the presiding officer needs to have all the relevant circumstances before an eviction can be carried out.

They need to know who is this person you want to evict, what are their personal circumstances, is it an old person and can they house themselves. What the ConCourt has said is that if the person is unable to house themselves and the eviction will result in them being homeless, the municipality concerned needs to provide alternative accommodation. The eviction order cannot be granted unless that happens.

Khululiwe Bhengu, Litigation fellow - Socio-Economic Rights Institute

Listen below to the full discussion on eviction laws and the Red Ants:


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
 Herman Mashaba is lying about Alexandra demolitions, callers tell Eusebius

Herman Mashaba is lying about Alexandra demolitions, callers tell Eusebius

Callers on the McKaiser show say the mayor has lost control of the City of Johannesburg and the EFF is in charge.

'The instruction to demolish didn't come from my office, it came from JMPD'

'The instruction to demolish didn't come from my office, it came from JMPD'

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba says the destruction of illegal structures in Alexandra was done without his knowledge.

 EFF wants Ipid, Public Protector and SAHRC to probe Alexandra demolitions

EFF wants Ipid, Public Protector and SAHRC to probe Alexandra demolitions

Provincial chairperson Mandisa Mashego says the residents were subjected to violence.

Five-month-old baby believed to be trapped under rubble amidst Alex evictions

Five-month-old baby believed to be trapped under rubble amidst Alex evictions

While police cannot confirm this, a grandmother is said to have asked for her grandchild to be saved.

Court orders Prasa to reinstate evicted Newtown residents

Court orders Prasa to reinstate evicted Newtown residents

The City obtained a court interdict to stop the eviction in Bekezela, where residents accused the Red Ants of violence and harm.

Prasa did not consult officials about Red Ants evictions in Newtown, says City

Prasa did not consult officials about Red Ants evictions in Newtown, says City

The Red Ants have evicted over 65 families from a building in Newtown who have allegedly occupied Prasa-owned property illegally.

Popular articles
The EFF is behaving like Zodwa Wabantu in Parliament, caller tells Eusebius

The EFF is behaving like Zodwa Wabantu in Parliament, caller tells Eusebius

702 listeners on the Eusebius McKaiser show share their views on the conduct of the political parties during the Sona debate.

[WATCH] SA youth choir shines on America's Got Talent with 'My African Dream'

[WATCH] SA youth choir shines on America's Got Talent with 'My African Dream'

The Ndlovu Youth Choir's beautiful performance got 4 yesses from the judges, including Simon Cowell!

[WATCH] Dad promises son a PlayStation 5 if he hits crossbar, and he does

[WATCH] Dad promises son a PlayStation 5 if he hits crossbar, and he does

Khabazela shares tweets and Facebook posts that have gone viral.

TymeBank CEO Sandile Shabalala quits

TymeBank CEO Sandile Shabalala quits

Shabalala says he wants to spend more time with his family. Bruce Whitfield interviews portfolio manager Kokkie Kooyman (Denker).

Average salary in SA is R6400 per month, but 70% of workers earn less

Average salary in SA is R6400 per month, but 70% of workers earn less

About 29% of workers earn less than the R3500 national minimum wage, says Anish Shivdasani, CEO at Giraffe.

Discovery Health acted illegally and a patient died - Medical law consultant

Discovery Health acted illegally and a patient died - Medical law consultant

Shafrudeen Amod from Medisyn Clinical Consulting says the scheme could have paid the patient directly.

Investec gives staff unlimited leave days and freedom to wear what they want

Investec gives staff unlimited leave days and freedom to wear what they want

The bank rewards innovation with substantial bonuses and pays according to output not hours at work, says Lesley-Anne Gatter.

We've technologist on record saying she'll not treat patients - Discovery Health

We've technologist on record saying she'll not treat patients - Discovery Health

CEO Dr Broomberg has rubbished reports that a KwaZulu-Natal patient died after the company stopped payments.

Reasons why this mother-in-law wore a bridal gown to her son's wedding ceremony

Reasons why this mother-in-law wore a bridal gown to her son's wedding ceremony

Khabazela shares tweets and Facebook posts that have social media on a frenzy on What's Gone Viral.