Pretoria – Gauteng MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements, Paul Mashatile, on Wednesday, announced the suspension of evictions and demolishing of shacks in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria.
On Monday, violence broke out in the township when employees of the Red Ants security company, SAPS and Tshwane Metro Police arrived to flatten their shacks and evict them.
During the violence, two employees from a security company were killed and six people were injured in an altercation with the residents.
The residents also went on the rampage burning municipal busses and those belonging to a private company. The locals also burned tyres in the streets in a bid to prevent police from entering the area.
MEC Mashatile visited the area accompanied by the City of Tshwane Member of Mayoral Committee for Housing, Joshua Ngonyama, senior police officials and other municipal officials.
Prior to making the announcement, MEC Mashatile had a meeting with the community representatives, the chiefs and the city’s officials on a way forward in addressing the situation.
“We have agreed to suspend the evictions and demolishing of the shacks. People were under the impression that the land was legally acquired.
“We thought we should not be punitive in a situation where people really believed that they were not doing anything wrong to be on those pieces of land,” MEC Mashatile said.
MEC Mashatile, together with the other stakeholders, also agreed that they will work towards bringing stability in the area.
At the meeting, it was also agreed that a Steering Committee comprising community representatives, City of Tshwane officials and officials from Co-operative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements.
According to MEC Mashatile, the committee will work with the community to ensure that they are all settled.
The committee is expected to convene on Friday.
The committee will as part of its responsibility visit the affected committee and do shack marking.
According to MEC Mashatile, the police will continue to monitor the area and investigate the murders.
“We believe that there will be peace in the area. We want Hammanskraal to enjoy development,” he said.
MMC Ngonyama assured the locals that the municipality will be bringing sustainable development.
“Housing is a human right, we have to step in as government,” he said.
A community representative, who was part of the meeting, Fortune Mathabathe, said he was happy with the agreement reached by government.
“Now we understand our position as a community, we are grateful that the government came to listen to our grievances,” he said.