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Paul Mashatile ‘shocked’ by deadly land clashes in Lenasia

It’s understood the violence erupted on Friday when the Red Ants started demolishing shacks and evicting illegal dwellers from the area.

FILE: The ANC's treasurer general Paul Mashatile. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Paul Mashatile has expressed shock after violent clashes between the community of Lenasia in southern Johannesburg and the Red Ants claimed the life of at least two people.

It’s understood the violence erupted on Friday when the Red Ants started demolishing shacks and evicting illegal dwellers from the area.

Mashatile has called for calm and restraint from the community and has sent his condolences to families of those who lost their lives.

Spokesperson Keith Khoza has urged community members to refrain from illegally occupying the vacant land.

“It undermines government plans as well as current ownership… for instance, the land that was occupied has been earmarked for development. At a point when the city has money to do development, it may be impeded.”

REMOVAL OF ILLEGAL LAND GRABBERS

The City of Johannesburg has said its operation in Univille, Lenasia south, is an enforcement of a court order to remove people who are illegally occupying the land.

The city added a particular portion of land has been set aside for development and apart from the long-standing informal settlements in the surrounding areas, no new structures should be erected.

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has welcomed the decision to put a halt to the evictions of dozens of residents.

The party said after a marathon meeting with the city's Mayor Herman Mashaba and MMC for Public Safety Michael Sun, an agreement was reached to cease the evictions.

Additional reporting by Kgomotso Modise and Katleho Sekhotho.