Johannesburg – The City of Johannesburg will establish an independent task team to investigate the allegations of political interference during recent evictions in Unaville, Lenasia, where two people died, mayor Herman Mashaba said on Monday.
In a statement, Mashaba said all pending evictions have also been suspended unless he approved them.
He said the task team will be established under the city's Group Forensic Investigation Department, which is independent of the mayor’s office and the office of the City Manager.
Mashaba said authorities were acting on a court order obtained in July to demolish the "unoccupied illegal structures".
"Sadly, in executing the order, a number of persons were harmed or injured through the alleged action taken by the Red Ants, who were contracted by the Sheriff," he said.
Mashaba said the city's new Democratic Alliance-led administration aggressively pursues the provision of adequate housing, including diversifying the way the city delivers housing to the poor.
"We have also allocated R66m toward our shift to progressively focus on the Site and Service housing development approach. This involves the provision of fully serviced plots of land, onto which beneficiaries can be settled," he said.
"With a housing backlog of over 300 000 units, the need for adequate housing is desperate; particularly for those who have waited for adequate housing since 1994."