Residents of Fattis Mansions on the corner of Jeppe and Harrison Street
in the Johannesburg CBD were forcefully evicted by close to 200 Red Ants on
Wednesday. The eviction, which affected dozens of people, started at 7am and
proceeded well into the afternoon. Residents’ belongings were pulled from the
building and dumped in a massive pile along Harrison Street.
“They just told us late yesterday. I have been here since 2013. I have
three people in my family, one is a baby,” said one resident as they watched
their homes stripped of their belongings.
The eviction notice served to residents, dated 25 April 2017, stated
that the building was “destroyed” (an apparent reference to its dilapidated
state) and that it would need to be rebuilt. All those residing within Fattis
Mansions were ordered to vacate within 45 days of the court order being served.
residents claimed they were completely unaware of the eviction plans and said
the building administrator, who they paid rent to, yesterday told them that
they would need to vacate the premises by this morning.
said the Red Ants were unsupervised and had gotten away with assault, sexual
harassment and robbery while evicting residents.
they just came around and they kicked us out. On the steps, they took my phone,
money and ID. They beat us,” a resident said.
resident showed where his trousers had ripped as he tried to protect his phone
from being stolen by Red Ants who forced him out of his room in the building.
forcefully took my bag and wallet with my ID and clothes. They took my phone
and tore my trouser because I was fighting to hide my phone and wallet in it,”
The Daily Vox was unable to reach the Red
Ants for comment. This story will be updated should they respond.
ANC councillor Nokuthula Xaba said the eviction was illegal as residents were
not aware of the eviction and there was a pending court case in which the
eviction was being appealed. She said that the issue of providing alternative
accommodation, as is required following theKiribilly judgment,
was not provided for.
rights are being violated. The city of Johannesburg, where I belong as a councillor,
say they don’t have the capacity to provide accommodation. We have children
here who are heading the families. We also have disabled children and now their
human rights are so dehumanised,” she said.
Silu Mabilitsi, a ward councilor from ward
60, said that the eviction would be contested in court, with the Socio-Economic
Rights Institute of South Africa (Seri) representing the evicted residents. The
matter was set to be heard at 6pm on Wednesday.