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Alex residents finalising plans for another shutdown

Earlier this month, the red ants destroyed 80 structures that were apparently illegally erected along the Jukskei River leaving many homeless.

Alexandra township residents gesture and chant slogans as they clash with the Johannesburg Metro Police on 3 April 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa during a total shutdown of the township due to a protest against the lack of service delivery. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – Alexandra residents were finalising plans to shut down the township on Wednesday in protest to the rebuilding of illegal structures.

Earlier this month, the Red Ants destroyed 80 structures that were apparently illegally erected along the Jukskei River, leaving many homeless.

But the City of Johannesburg has since decided to rebuild the houses.

The Alexandra Total Shutdown movement was against this decision and said it would protest on Wednesday.

The movement's Sandile Mavundla said: “If there’s someone who wants to listen, they must come and address our issues now. We’re not going for a boardroom talk; we want a person who will come and prevent a framework for the development of Alexandra, a frame of dealing with illegal structures.”

'NOTHING ILLEGAL ABOUT ALEX DEMOLITIONS'

Earlier in June, the Red Ants Security and Evictions Services rejected allegations that it unlawfully removed the residents in Alexandra.

In a statement, the controversial security company said it was in possession of a court order authorising the removals.

"Red Ants is in possession of a court order obtained by the City of Johannesburg against the unlawful occupiers dated back to 7 September 2016 which was handed down by Honourable Judge Windell before the Gauteng Local Division," the statement read.

The Economic Freedom Fighters in Gauteng and Mayor Herman Mashaba claimed the Red Ants destroyed 80 structures illegally.

Mashaba told residents of Stjwetla that he was not aware of whose authorised the demolitions took place, blaming what he called evil forces for the forceful evictions.

“What happened did not have my political directive and did not have the support of the multi-party government. There were evil forces that decided to take this decision to come and destroy your houses.”

That order authorised the sheriff of the High Court to remove any person found in breach and allowed the sheriff to demolish illegal structures erected on the property.

"The court order was made final on 9 September 2016," the statement further read.

The company said it only became involved in the Alexandra evictions a week before the demolitions after it was appointed by the City of Johannesburg to counter land invasions.

Additional reporting by Sifiso Zulu.

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