The Democratic Alliance held a commemoration re-enactment of the horrific destruction of approximately 1200 shanties by the Red Ants on 01 July 2015 at Mapoteng in Kathu. Thousands of people were evicted and left destitute. Read the full story on page 3. Photograph : Judi Bolweg
A re-enactment scene of the eviction of illegal squatters on 01 July 2015 by the Red Ants as performed by members of the DA. As a result of the trauma suffered from the eviction, a pregnant woman suffered a miscarriage, one man was left permanently crippled and one aged woman died. Photograph : Judi Bolweg
The horrendous eviction of thousands of squatters by the Red Ants and the total destruction of their informal homes and all their belongings were commemorated by the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Saturday 09 July 2016.
The squatters had illegally been occupying land belonging to the Gamagara municipality, earmarked for future development.
The municipality obtained an eviction order on 06 February 2015 for the illegal occupants to demolish their structures, however they remained defiant and filed an appeal.
On 01 July 2015, an army of approximately 1000 Red Ants descended on the land and destroyed each and every structure, leaving the occupants totally destitute.
The next day, however, a High Court ruling dated 01 July 2015, prohibiting the municipality from evicting the squatters, was doing the rounds - a copy of which was handed to the Kathu Gazette.
At the time, the municipality failed to comment on this ruling, insisting that the land had been occupied illegally and that the municipality needed to develop the land in terms of services, during which occupation poses a danger as the land needed to be totally unvacated.
Many of the illegal inhabitants had been fortune seekers hailing from elsewhere in the country who came to Kathu to seek profitable employment when the mines were at an all time high. Apparently there was a daily influx of these people and there was simply not sufficient accommodation available in Mapoteng or Sesheng to accommodate this number of people.
Since the eviction, hundreds of informal shanties have sprung up again, and yet no municipal services are being rendered.
It is rumoured that many of the current inhabitants are ex workers from contractors. The contractors left town when their contracts were terminated due to the down slump in the price of iron ore internationally which had a negative effect on the mines in the area. The contractors could not offer their workers jobs either locally or back where they came from, hence they simply abandoned their workers who were then forced to take up shelter in the informal settlement that had re-emerged on the land in question.
The Kathu Gazette approached the Gamagara municipality for clarification on the present situation regarding the land, but by our cut off time for printing, we have not received feedback as yet.
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