By Cebisile Mbonani
Scores of people were left homeless and hungry in the winter cold after being evicted by Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) in the Alexandra Kew industrial area, Johannesburg last week.
On Wednesday, May 25 2022, the JMPD evicted residents and demolished houses in the Kew Industrial Area after a court ordered that those living there move because it is private property. One resident whose home got destroyed is Ngobese Mzomkhulu (59). He has spent the last three days sleeping outside the building. The only thing Ngobese managed to take during the demolishing was his ID.
Mzomkhulu was once a security guard in the same industrial building where his homestead was demolition. With tears in his eyes, Ngobese said, "Sengichithe izinsuku ezintathu ngilele ngaphandle, ngilambile, futhi kufanele ngiphuze amapilisi ami (I have spent the last three days sleeping outside, I am hungry, and I need to take my medication)."
Ntombenkosi Maphiphi, who has been active in the counselor and community activities in the area, said "People lost their belongings, some parents came back from work and shuffled around their belongs, some people got shot by rubber bullets."
The residents had an eviction court order dating back to 2015, fray.news spoke to the ward councilor of the area, Councillor Joanne Horwitz, and she does confirm the eviction, stating that the building was hijacked 10-years-ago and the hijackers have been earning tax-free income by way of renting the Kew Industrial Area.
"The City of Jo’burg is cognisant of human rights. The squatters were warned time and again that they would be evicted, and were given more than enough time to move out on their own."
The councilor also said the latest court order specifically stated that the owners need not provide alternative accommodation when evicting illegal occupants.
"It is important to know that the squatters were paying the hijackers rent, and can therefore seek alternate accommodation themselves elsewhere, and pay rent to a legitimate landlord." said Horwitz