On Tuesday 25th August 2020, employees of the Red Ant Security Relocation & Eviction Services once again descended on a block of flats in Fleurhof, illegally evicting dozens of residents from their homes, leaving them homeless and destitute. This ruthless campaign has culminated in the eviction of thousands of residents since the beginning of August. No court order has been granted for any of the multiple evictions on the residents’ homes. These evictions violate the Constitution, which mandates that a court order considering all relevant circumstances must be granted before an eviction can be executed, as well as the regulations in terms of the Disaster Management Act.
On 1 July 2020, the South Gauteng High Court granted Calgro M3, a developer that has a co-operation agreement with the City of Joburg to deliver housing in Fleurhof, an interdict protecting the housing development from occupation. In issuing this interdict, the Court made it abundantly clear that this specific order “does not constitute an application for eviction”. Despite this admonition from the Court, Calgro M3 is now using this interdict to evict residents from homes which they have been in possession of for over three years. More worrisome is the collusion of the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) and the Sheriff to carry out these illegal evictions. By their participation in these evictions they have not only failed to uphold their constitutional obligation to protect members of the public but have actively facilitated illegal activities.
During these evictions, residents were forced out of their homes while the Red Ants removed their belongings. In the process, crucial documents and learning materials for school children were lost, and residents’ furniture and appliances were broken. These attacks happen despite a moratorium on evictions and expose people to the COVID-19 pandemic. A home is the first line of defence against infection, it is essential to enabling people to protect themselves from contracting COVID-19.
SERI calls for an immediate halt on these illegal evictions and the reinstatement of residents to their homes. We further call for the establishment of law and order in Fleurhof and for due process to be followed.
Read the full statement here.