Red Ants suspended over allegations of improper conduct

2019-07-02 23:00
Red Ants demolish a shack occupying private land in Dunoon. (Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp)

Red Ants demolish a shack occupying private land in Dunoon. (Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp)

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The Private Security Industry Regulation Authority (PSiRA), which regulates the security industry, has suspended the Red Ants pending an investigation into their conduct. 

The PSiRA said it had received a number of complaints alleging improper conduct during evictions carried out by the Red Ants.

SABC News reported that the regulator said it had received complaints from the public regarding the alleged misconduct of the Red Ants during recent evictions in Alexandra and the Ramaphosa informal settlement in Johannesburg.

The PSiRA's Linda Mbana explained to the public broadcaster that the suspension meant that the Red Ants could not carry out any relocation and eviction services until the investigation came to an end. 

Jacaranda FM reported, that according to Mbana, should the Red Ants want to resume their operations they could appeal the decision by writing directly to Police Minister Bheki Cele or take the matter to the High Court. 

FF Plus responds

In response, the FF Plus said the suspension would open the door to illegal occupations.

"The suspension of the Red Ants' registration with the private security industry regulatory body is alarming and opens the door to illegal land occupations and land grabs.

"According to media reports, it seems that PSiRA gave in to political pressure to take action against the Red Ants after the recent removal of illegal occupants and the demolition of illegal structures in Alexandra," party leader Pieter Groenewald said in a statement on Tuesday. 

The FF Plus added that it saw no grounds for the argument that the Red Ants had acted out of its mandate as it assumed that the private security company had carried out the evictions in Alexandra with a valid warrant.

"The Red Ants usually only take action after obtaining a warrant and the FF Plus assumes that the company did that in this case as well, so the party, therefore, sees no grounds for the allegation that the company acted outside of its mandate," Groenewald said.

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With the company's hands tied, the FF Plus is of the view that the issue of illegal land occupation can "escalate very quickly".

"The fact that the company's hands are now tied opens the door to large-scale land occupation and municipal land is particularly under threat. Open spaces like parks can now be illegally occupied and if the occupants are not removed within the specified time, the problem can escalate very quickly," Groenewald explained. 

As a result, the FF Plus has vowed to keep a close eye on the Red Ants' appeal to ensure there was justice.

"This is yet another example of those who abide by the law are punished while law breakers go unpunished. This can have serious consequences and the FF Plus will keep a close eye on the Red Ants' legal action against its suspension so as to ensure that justice prevails," Groenewald concluded.

News24 reached out to the Red Ants but did not receive a response at the time of publication. The Red Ants' response will be added once received.  

Read more on:    ff plus  |  red ants
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