No security for Hammanskraal workers - families

2016-05-27 06:37
Elias Tshabalala 45, was killed in Hammanskraal.  (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

Elias Tshabalala 45, was killed in Hammanskraal. (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

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WATCH: They were killing our brothers in Hammanskraal

2016-05-26 23:13

Doctor Nelushi was working for the Red Ants for the day on Monday when he and his co-workers were attacked by angry Hammanskraal residents.WATCH

Pretoria- The families of the two men killed during the violent protests in Hammanskraal have criticised the company that employed them as casual workers for not providing adequate security.

Elias Tshabalala was set alight and Lucky Nelushi beaten to death when residents turned on those who had come to evict them from three informal settlements.

Tshabalala’s brother Sam said he was deeply disturbed that a Pretoria-based company sub-contracted by the City of Tshwane to execute the eviction, failed to provide security guards for those carrying out the eviction.

“What bothers me is that they were able to take them there, the Red Ants were protected, but Elias and the others were not protected. This company can't help us.”

He wanted to know if those responsible for the eviction would help them. The company had not been in touch with them, he said.

“Are they not going to do anything about the tragedy that happened? Is that how our government works?"

Violence broke out in the area on Monday when employees of the Red Ants security company, SAPS and Tshwane Metro Police arrived to flatten their shacks and evict them. 

Five people have since been arrested, one of them for murder.

The evictions in the Kanana, Suurman and Sekampaneng informal settlements were suspended on Wednesday, following the violence.

Sam said the company had not provided much help.

“They didn't even offer us any help with funeral arrangements. They said they would pay the mortuary, but they didn't pay the full amount. They said they would buy us cabbages only. They asked us to draw up a list of things we'll need for the funeral and they said they would contribute with cabbages. That hurt us. 

“They said they wouldn't be able to pay for what we agreed on. They took the quote and went to the mortuary to try to negotiate with them in our absence. They are trying to do things without informing us. They are acting like they are doing us a favour,” said Sam.

Sam Tshabalala (L) speaks about his brother. (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

No protection or training

Nelushi’s brother Doctor, who was part of the team that went to evict the residents, said they received no training or protection.

“They told us that we must not worry about safety as we would have back-up from police and metro police as well as a chopper. They said it was enough and we should not worry. They said we would just be demolishing the shacks as well as loading the materials into the trucks,” he said.

Nelushi said when they got there it seemed like the 300 workers armed with crowbars were facing an army of thousands. 

“Things like this should not happen in future. People should be given proper training before they go there. I’m a security guard by profession and I have no training in dealing with violence like that. What they did was a huge risk to innocent people. They should have employed people with experience in that department,” he said.

Both families said the company officials who visited them told them to get quotations for the funeral services, but limited the amount.

“I would like for this nightmare to come to an end. We can't accept what happened. The company is telling us that they were doing them a favour so they can buy bread,” said Sam Tshabalala.

Both families asked what would happen to the dependents left behind. Attempts to get comment from the company were unsuccessful. A woman answered the phone but hung up when a News24 reporter introduced himself.

We’ll help if asked to

Tshwane spokesperson Blessing Manale said they knew the identities of the two deceased men, but said it was not as simple as approaching the families to offer help as the city needed to protect itself legally.

“We will gladly assist the families, if requested. Even beyond the funeral, to looking at bursaries for the surviving dependents, and counselling.” 

They could only help if asked as there were two judicial processes: a murder case or murder inquest, which were likely to take place, Manale said.

“In those cases we don’t want to be called to testify and justify our reasons for offering assistance.

“We don’t want to be accused of trying to bribe the families not to follow up and investigate what happened. That is the reason we are not proactively offering,” he said.

City officials were expected to visit the families on Friday.


Read more on:    city of tshwane  |  hammanskraal  |  protests

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