‘Evil forces’ bedevil Alex evictions

Staff Writer | Jun 05, 2019
Muddle over evictions in Alexandra township prompts Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba to claim ‘evil forces are behind this’.

When some 80 homes were demolished by the authorities in Alexandra last week, mayor Mashaba rushed to the scene to apologise and declare: ‘I'm sure that anyone can see what is really happening here, evil forces are behind this move. I can’t really say the ANC was involved but one thing I know, evil forces were behind this.’

But the record suggests the evictions may well have been the result of a City of Johannesburg resolution voted on by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). 

This is not the first such controversy in a running battle between the African National Congress (ANC), EFF and the DA, and even within the DA itself. 

In 2017, after the EFF had called for land invasions, evictions of illegal settlements on state-owned land near the Golden Gate highway in Lenasia turned violent, with two deaths being reported.

At the time the EFF and DA had voted together on a council resolution that – in the ANC’s description – ‘people must not be evicted’. This, ANC regional spokesperson Jolidee Matongo said at the time, was ‘unsustainable’ because the council ‘has a responsibility to act’ by enforcing evictions ‘when wrong things are done’ in the form of illegal settlement. 

In 2018, the city enforced the demolition of illegally built wood structures in Northcliffe, with mayoral committee member Reuben Masanga explaining that ‘we went through all the court processes...The lawlessness and noncompliance of bylaws will no longer be tolerated. We intend on acting on all the demolition orders we have”. 

This order would have included the one for Alexandra, which was obtained in 2016.

Perhaps due to the delay, Mashaba argued that ‘it’s clear that this was not an act based on the order, the decision was based on something more sinister. Evil forces were behind this and we [including the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department] will get to the bottom of it’. 

The ANC has accused Mashaba of ‘promoting illegality’ by promising to rebuild the houses that were, at least on currently available evidence, illegally built and legally demolished. 

 

If you like what you have just read, become a Friend of the IRR if you aren’t already one by SMSing your name to 32823 or clicking here. Each SMS costs R1.’ Terms & Conditions Apply


comments powered by Disqus