WATCH: Red Ants demolish shacks in PTA - land grabbers threaten to return

People involved in a land invasion on a farm north of Pretoria have vowed to return after the Red Ants demolished their shacks during an eviction on Tuesday morning.

Following a North Gauteng High Court order granted last week, the sheriff of the court, assisted by Red Ants, moved through the land, dismantling and destroying about 100 erected structures.

But one man, who declined to be named, said they would return to the land to rebuild their shacks.

"The majority of the people are saying that this is our land. There is nothing wrong with what we are doing. Moving forward, we are going to occupy this place. This is our place," one man, who declined to be named, told News24.

"People don't have any place to stay and we believe that it is our right to occupy this land."

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He said that it was "painful" and "stressful" to believe you have a home, only to return from work to discover that your shack has been demolished and the materials removed.

He added that the eviction and demolishing of the structures were unlawful, that there was no court order and that the owners of the structures were not given eviction letters.

'No one has inhabited these structures'

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Red Ants demolish shacks on a farm North of Pretoria. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

As police observed the eviction, the Red Ants loaded sheets of corrugated iron, which had been used for structures, and collected and burnt wooden polls, which had been used as beams.

A group of dwellers who had structures on the farm offered no resistance but stood on the side of the road and watched as their shacks were taken apart.

The deputy sheriff of Tshwane North said that a court order had been obtained for the eviction of everyone was on the land illegally and for the removal of all illegal structures.

"No one has inhabited these structures. [They were] erected and it seems like someone will occupy these shacks, but I have no idea when. But the court order gave us permission to demolish all the shacks that are on the land," deputy sheriff Jacques van der Wart said.

Another man, who also asked not to be named, returned from work to find his newly-erected shack, which cost him R5 000, gone.

He told News24 he was devastated because, when he bought a stand for R500, he was told that he would not be evicted because a local chief had given permission to have people set up homes on the large tract of land.

"They ensured us that no Red Ants will come here because they have the permission. My shack was finished. I just had to do the floor this weekend," he said.

"I'm so disappointed [and have] to accept that it's all gone down the drain."

Police open case 

With the assistance of lobby group AfriForum, Dr Motodi Maserumule, one of the owners of the 120-hectare farm, approached the court on August 31 for relief after police allegedly refused to do anything about the land invasion.

The urgent application, which cited the Minister of Police and the station commander of Soshanguve police station as parties, was unopposed.

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Red Ants demolish shacks on a farm North of Pretoria. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

 

At the time, Maserumule told News24 there was a lack of urgency on the police's part to do something about the land invasion, despite being on the scene.

"We started engaging them (the police) when there was nothing on the property to be removed. If they had just come at that stage and chased those people off, we wouldn't be here. But it has dragged on and on," Maserumule said.

He added that when he attempted to open a trespassing case, police refused to help him.

Police opened a case and went to the farm only after AfriForum intervened, he added.

AfriForum's head of community safety, Ian Cameron said the police have been conspicuous in their absence in protecting Maserumule's property, which is why they had no alternative but to approach the court for assistance. 

Provincial police were not immediately able to provide comment.