Discovery of man's body heightens tensions during Johannesburg eviction

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Red Ants.
Red Ants.
Alex Mitchley, News24
  • A man's body has been found near blocks of flats as Red Ants were evicting illegal occupiers.
  • It's unclear if the man's death was linked to the eviction.
  • A group of people have been living illegally in government flats in Fleurhof, Johannesburg.

People who allegedly "invaded" government flats in Fleurhof have accused the police of applying maximum force in removing them.

Adding to the tension in the western Johannesburg suburb was the discovery of a man's body near the flats on Wednesday.

The man, who has not been identified, was certified dead by paramedics. It is not known when he died.

Police are yet to confirm the cause of death. It's also unclear if his death is linked to the eviction.

However, residents told the media that the man had been killed by police officers. Earlier in the day, an army of Red Ants arrived and removed those people who had illegally occupied the units.

READ | 'Unlawful' home demolitions frustrate SA's objective to curb Covid-19 spread - rights institute

The Red Ants were accompanied by the police and Johannesburg Metro Police Department officers. Property belonging to occupants was either thrown out of windows or over balconies. Light items, including clothing and curtains, blew around in the wind as Red Ants tossed them to the ground.

The belongings were later loaded and taken away in JMPD trucks.

The occupants claimed they were never afforded an opportunity to vacate the properties they had illegally occupied.

READ HERE | 'Illegal occupation of land must stop', Makhubo tells Zandspruit residents

Thabo Mokoena said he had moved into one of the flats on Friday after seeing them remain unoccupied for years.

"We are homeless and need houses. We have been waiting for years for these houses to be allocated to us.

"Government is delaying, or maybe they have forgotten that we need homes. We are going to stay in those homes, whether government agrees or not," he said.

OPINION | The plight of unlawful evictions in South Africa

Some residents were seen running away, clutching their belongings, as Red Ants went from flat to flat, removing people and taking away their possessions.

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