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#Hammanskraal: Residents dig in their heels over forced removals

Evictions will go ahead, as per a court order, unless proof the land is legally occupied, is provided.

Hammanskraal residents have vowed to rebuild their shacks following forced removals in the township. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

PRETORIA - City of Tshwane officials say evictions in the Hammanskraal community will go ahead, as per a court order, until residents provide authorities with evidence that they are legally occupying a piece of land.

The area has been volatile over the past three days, with protests claiming two lives and injuring several others after clashes broke out between residents and Red Ant Security Services.

The security group was following orders to demolish shacks on the private piece of land, reportedly owned by a royal family within the community.

Residents however claim they've been occupying the land for the past five months after a local ward councillor gave the go-ahead.

The Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD)'s Isaac Mahamba says they are yet to receive any paper evidence from the over 16,000 people believed to be illegally living on the grounds.

"We want to see that in black and white. If they claim they have ownership then they must provide it [documents], and we'll take it from there."

He says residents' claims can only be investigated if authorities are provided with physical proof that supports this.

"We have been talking to some of them on the ground who say money has been taken from them, but we need proof and if they can go to the South African Police Service and say this is what happened, then we can investigate and arrests can be made."

WATCH:_ Hammanskraal residents: Councilor gave us land._

While exact details of when evictions are to continue remain unclear, the TMPD says it will go ahead soon.

Meanwhile, there've been calls from various sectors of society to provide alternate accommodation for those evicted from the land.

The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco)'s Samuel Matlala says while these evictions may be legal, they must be done humanely.

He says alternative accommodation must be made available as soon as possible.

At the same time, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says municipalities are breaking the law by not providing evicted residents with alternate accommodation.

The commission says violent protests have risen across the country because local municipalities have dragged their feet in providing other housing alternatives.

The TMPD, however, remains adamant that evictions will continue.

EFF SPEAKS OUT AGAINST EVICTIONS

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says it believes the manner in which residents in Hammanskraal are being evicted from their homes resembles tactics used by the apartheid government.

The EFF says it supports the resistance shown by people who are refusing to leave their homes.

Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says, "This violent, uncaring and forceful eviction of the people in Hammanskraal signifies a government which socialises our people with an idiom of violence."

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