Two people were killed during clashes between land invaders and the Red Ants in Rus-ter-Vaal, outside Vereeniging, on Wednesday morning.
According to Emfuleni Local Municipality spokesperson, Stanley Gaba, violent clashes erupted when the Red Ants arrived in the area to demolish shacks illegally erected on land that is dolomitic and not habitable.
The municipality earlier secured a court order to remove the invaders.
"Emfuleni Local Municipality regrets the loss of life, following incidents of violence in Rus-ter-Vaal earlier this morning. Unconfirmed reports are that two people have died in alleged clashes between the Red Ants and land invaders in the area. The situation remains volatile following attempts by the municipality to action a court order granted [for the removal] of land invaders in the area," said Gaba.
In recent weeks, residents invaded the land and the municipality obtained a court order to remove them to curb the mushrooming of structures.
"It must be noted that the land in question is dolomitic and not habitable. The R82, an arterial road linking Vereeniging to Johannesburg, remains closed due to the public unrest. There is a heavy presence of law enforcement in the area and relevant authorities have started their investigations into unfortunate fatal events earlier this morning.
"The municipality sends its heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and will also be undertaking its own probe into the incidents," said Gaba.
Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said the members of the Red Ants and the sheriff acted on the court order when they were met by angry dwellers.
"It is alleged that as the Red Ants were demolishing those shacks, a fight broke out between them and the members of the community. Two people have been certified dead and six have been taken to the hospital with injuries. Cases of murder and attempted murder will be opened for investigation. No arrests have been made," Masondo added.