Gauteng government will provide temporary accommodation for 80 families that were evicted and their homes demolished in Alexandra on Friday.
This was announced by human settlement MEC, Lebogang Maile, after his visit earlier on Saturday to Green Houses, Stjwetla and Alexandra townships where the demolitions were carried out.
Maile’s department said his visit was aimed at “soliciting a deeper understanding of the demolitions impact, interventions in place and interact with the affected”.
Joburg metro police spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar, said on Friday that the evictions and demolition were necessary because people had constructed their houses too close to a river, adding that it was dangerous.
Maile said shortly after visiting the affected areas: “We have never instructed anybody to demolish those homes (on Friday). We’d never intentionally rob our people of their homes without seeking temporary accommodation for them.”
“We are aware structures were erected on land that is not suitable for accommodation and have on several occasions posed danger to the lives of the occupants.”
Maile said those who are now homeless will become part of his department’s housing plans. “We’re going to build temporary structures where the 80 families will be accommodated for now (and) then look for suitable land where we can place them while we are building more than 30 mega human settlements that will ensure that Gauteng housing backlog is alleviated,” he said.
Meanwhile, the demolitions carried out by the Red Ants has triggered anger among residents which led to running battles with the police. Angry residents set alight two houses in Alexandra on Friday.
The ANC has described the demolitions as “inhumane actions by the unholy DA/EFF alliance to irresponsibly demolish informal settlement and evict innocent people in a section of Alexander township”.
“The actions of the DA/EFF alliance smacks of opportunism and cheap electioneering to displace our African masses exposing them to the harsh conditions of the winter cold weather.
It remains our considered view that this alliance will forever be an accident of history founded on the grounds of greed and malicious ‘community of property’, no right thinking political organisation can use the plight of our people to further narrow objectives,” the party said in a statement on Saturday.
The EFF has denied any involvement in the saga. “Demolition was never, ever ordered by EFF. No dishonest and hypocritical point than the idea that police can be ordered by the EFF,” said EFF spokesperson, Mbuyseni Ndlozi.
No response was received from DA national spokesperson, Solly Malatsi at the time of publication.