Prasa did not consult officials about Red Ants evictions in Newtown, says City

The City of Johannesburg claims it was not consulted about the eviction of Newtown residents and has obtained a court interdict to halt the forced removals.

The Red Ants evicted at least 65 families from a building in Newtown following an order by the Sheriff of the court.

They say they were instructed by passenger rail agency Prasa to evict those who are refusing to abide by the court order.

According to the court order issued in 2016, more than 200 families have illegally occupied the space owned by Prasa.

Claims of assault by Red Ants

Evictees earlier claimed that the Red Ants assaulted and harassed residents during the eviction process.

Thoko, a resident of the Bekezela informal settlement, in Newtown called Radio 702 in distress on Friday morning.

She told 702 that the Red Ants were using violence to forcibly remove women and children from their homes.

The Red Ants are here.. they've just thrown our things. They are hitting our children and even the women. Please send the police to help us.

Thoko, caller

Take a listen to the harrowing call from Thoko on Friday morning:

Take a listen to the Red Ants CEO respond:

Meanwhile, Prasa says it had asked the City of Joburg to arrange alternative accommodation for the families.

Prasa spokesperson Nana Zenani says the eviction order was granted in July last year and says the rail agency did not order the Red Ants to harass Newtown residents.

Zenani claims the City was given the responsibility to implement the eviction order and adds that Prasa does not condone the behavior of the Red Ants.

Prasa was granted the eviction order, however The City was given the responsibility to offer alternative accommodation.

Nana Zenani, Prasa spokesperson

We did highlight to the City that there needs to be alternative accommodation because there are families in the area.

Nana Zenani, Prasa spokesperson

We are not in charge of the Red Ants.

Nana Zenani, Prasa spokesperson

However, the City's Luyanda Mfeka says the Mayor, City manager and other officials were not made aware of the evictions ahead of time.

Mfeka says the City has now interdicted the removals and has sent social workers to determine how many people have been affected and displaced.

Take a listen to Prasa and The City of Joburg respond:

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