This looks like another Red Ants eviction waiting to happen in Matimba. But where are people to go when the homes they have been promised have not materialised?
Pretoria – More than 250 Mamelodi backyard dwellers who have illegally occupied Matimba flats in Extension 5 have until Wednesday to find new homes.
The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, heard the application for their eviction and ruled that they had to vacate the flats by Wednesday.
The Department of Human Settlements approached the court in a bid to get them removed. They had forcefully made themselves at home in December. In response to the ruling, residents said no amount of force or violence would scare them off.
In a similar case last year, the department obtained a court order to evict Mamelodi backyard dwellers illegally occupying flats in Nellmapius. In that matter, the Red Ants pounced on 500 residents occupying the flats along Solomon Mahlangu Drive.
But the residents moved back in and occupied even more flats. The flats have two bedrooms, a lounge, kitchen and toilet.
At the weekend, the occupants of Matimba flats said although the units were without taps or basic services such as electricity meters and running water, living in them was better than living in a crowded yard with parents.
They cook using paraffin stoves and share only a few running taps and outside toilets.
One of their leaders said the department in court alleged that they had vandalised the flats, which he insisted was not the case. She said they would be appealing against the ruling this week.
According to her, the City of Tshwane had promised to place them in those flats first, but allegedly started issuing title deeds to people who were not from the area.
“Our people who registered for housing for more than decades were still not placed. But people from Eersterust and other places were being given houses, and this did not make sense at all.”
She said they were well aware that violence and force might be used to evict them, just like in Nellmapius.
“We are not going anywhere. They can bring people to attack us and forcefully remove us using violence, but we are not moving out. We are aware that they might also bring people and throw our stuff outside, but we will stay here. They might as well kill us. Nothing was vandalised here. We found some things already missing, including circuit breakers. Nyaope users had access to these flats. The other thing mentioned in court was that we broke into these flats, which was not true. We just changed the locks and replaced them,” she said.
Another occupant said: “Some of us have children and won’t have anywhere to go should we be removed here, so we are not going anywhere. We fear getting attacked by the Red Ants, but we have no choice.”
Reprinted from the Pretoria News 2020-01-20
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