'We will teach the Red Ants a lesson they will not forget' - Chris Hani residents refuse to budge

2019-04-29 21:06
Red Ants waiting to evict land invaders in Ironside in the Vaal (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)

Red Ants waiting to evict land invaders in Ironside in the Vaal (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)

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Residents of Chris Hani informal settlement in Ironside, outside Vereeniging, are resolute that they not going to move. 

They have deliberately ignored a court order which the Midvaal Local Municipality obtained three weeks ago, to vacate a piece of land they have illegally occupied since March.

The group has also issued a stern warning to the Red Ants that no shack will be touched without a fight. 

"We have gathered more support. We will teach the Red Ants a lesson they will not forget. We are not going anywhere. We have taken the municipality to court.

"We are fighting for this land. We are not going to easily get this land without blood being spilled. Many informal settlements in the Vaal are supporting us," said community leader Simon Folotsi.

Folotsi is among the leaders who are assisting people to invade the land, which is situated near a railway line.

He said they have erected 120 shacks so far and 80 people have already occupied their shacks.

The area has no water or sewerage connections. Some residents get water from nearby houses and others use the veld for ablution.

"Our children need places they call home. I was staying in a back room at my parental home in Tshepong nearby and I can't raise my kids at home. They need a place [they] can call home. As a man, I must provide a shelter for them and I am not going to allow to destroy my children's dream for a home," said Folotsi.

Magdaline Khoza arrived with her husband and her two children in the area on April 6 from nearby Orange Farm.

Lack of privacy

"We have been living in a shack at my husband's home. We were sharing the place with eight more people and there was no privacy. Now I am happy that we have found a place of our own. My message to the Red Ants is: 'We are not going anywhere. I am not going back to Orange Farm. I am ready to fight. We are ready for them anytime,'" she said.

Lethusang Motsamai echoed that occupiers were not going anywhere.

"Our people need land. People don't need RDP houses, they need land. When you have land you have dignity and can build any house you want. We are not visitors in this country and continent. We must share this world," he said.

READ: 'If they want war, we will give them war', say Ironside land occupiers as Red Ants arrive

Last week, the municipality gave residents until Monday to vacate the land or face forceful removal. The land is earmarked for economic development, according to the municipality.

The municipality promised that the court order will be implemented on Thursday morning.

"We have given them enough time to vacate the land and they have refused to move. It is up to the police to implement the court order," said Member of Mayoral Committee for Development and Planning at Midvaal municipality, Mokete Motsamai.

On April 10, two people lost their lives when residents of the Ramaphosa Village informal settlement in Rus-Ter-Vaal, also in Vereeniging, clashed with the Red Ants who were evicting them from their informal settlement.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  protests  |  land
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