Private company destroys shacks in Lanseria, Johannesburg

Lanseria

Pictured above: Evicted residents sit under a tree and guard their belongings after their shacks were destroyed.

By Max Rambau, CORC

On Friday, 1 October, I received a call from Lanseria that there had been evictions that had been carried out earlier that morning. I then phoned Mfundisi of the Informal Settlement Network (Media Officer) and asked him to go there and get the story of the evictions and to also contact the media.

I went to the area in the evening to see what had happened. We found people’s belongings strewn all over the place next to the road. Their shacks had been demolished.

When we interviewed the people they told us that Jambo Security carried out the destruction of shacks and they were wearing the “Red Ants” uniform. They loaded the material onto their trucks and took it away.

It is alleged that Jambo Security people also stole blankets, money, cellphones and other items. They also assaulted one of the grandchildren of Gogo Mahlangu.

Jambo Security is notorious for terrorising people around Randburg. It is assisting the people who want to build a ‘volkstad’ in the area and working with the Johannesburg municipality.

The issue of Jambo Security will be raised with the ISN in order to take it up with the Johannesburg municipality in its meetings.

The Mahlangu family is one of the families that were affected by this eviction. This family has long term occupiers’ rights in the area because they were left in the area by their farm employer when he left.

Gogo Sannah Mahlangu (78 years) has been staying in the area for more than 43 years. She says that she had come as a young girl and even got married at the farm and was working for the farmowner.

This family was not supposed to be evicted as long term ESTA occupiers. Even the settlement agreement between Lanseria Commercial Crossing (Pty) Ltd and the occupiers (residents) states that negotiations have to be entered into with the long term ESTA occupiers if they are to be relocated.

Some buildings were left untouched and we believe that somebody must have warned Jambo Security about destroying the Mahlangu house. The kraal and livestock were also not touched.

There were 9 other families that were evicted at Lanseria. They initially came into the area and rented from the landowner for more than 11 years. After the landowners left, they were handed over to the new landowner and continued renting.

These people were not part of Mzala Settlement, so this means that the Lanseria Commercial Crossing is fighting with people with whom it has not reached an agreement with.

The houses of the 9 families were demolished to the ground.

Unfortunately, these people have always thought that they had a lawyer named Daphne. But she was just a ‘fly-by-night’ who has been collecting money (over R18 000).

We found out on Friday when we enquired about this Daphne that she is not a lawyer but a person with trade union background. She only hires a lawyer when there is a case and that is why there are never any follow-ups on cases.

The Legal Resources Centre is assisting the evicted people by making an urgent application to challenge the eviction at the High Court. The case will be heard on Monday (4th October 2010).

The case is now out of the hands of Daphne and a lawyer has been appointed.