‘No basis for evictions in Hammanskraal ’

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute says the law requires municipalities to provide alternative shelter.

FILE: Protests against forced evictions led to two people being killed in the clashes. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa says there appears to be no basis for the eviction of residents in Hammanskraal.

Residents there have been resisting evictions during violent clashes this week, in which two people have been killed and several others injured.

The City of Tshwane says the forced removals will go ahead as per a court order until residents prove that they have the right to occupy the land.

But the institute says the law requires municipalities to provide alternative shelter.

Researcher Nomzamo Zondo said, "I've seen the order but I've not seen any of the papers in the matter and from what I can see it might be that there wasn't an eviction order granted against these people. This means there isn't a basis for their eviction, it might be that there was an interdict or there was an [agenda] against a group of people."

WATCH: Hammanskraal residents: Councillor gave us this land

Residents 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 [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."

While the City of Tshwane says its asked people several times to vacate the municipal owned land, residents claim the evictions were completely unexpected.

They say they have been living in Sekampaneng since last year after a local ward councillor told them they could erect shacks on the land.

However, African National Congress (ANC) councillors say the piece of land was only meant to accommodate 121 shacks, not the 16,000 people who have now occupied it.

ANC OFFICIALS TO VISIT HAMMANSKRAAL

Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and Housing MEC Paul Mashatile are expected to visit Hammanskraal this afternoon to meet with the victims of forceful removals in the area.

Opposition parties have accused the ANC leadership of not planning effectively for housing and using violence to move people.

Mashatile and Ramokgopa will today talk to residents who are upset about attempts to remove them from their homes.

It's yet to be seen how the two officials will be received as tensions are believed to still be high among affected locals.