The situation in Eden Park was ”under control” on Friday after a man was killed there, allegedly by the Red Ants security guards, said police.
”Police were patrolling the area last night and will continue patrolling today,” said Captain Mega Ndobe.
Residents were up in arms after the man was beaten to death when he went to the rescue of his wife, who was being assaulted, also allegedly by the Red Ants, on Thursday.
Ndobe said about 50 members of the Red Ants were guarding Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) houses in Eden Park against illegal occupants when they found that razor wire around the houses was missing.
They were asking people in the houses if they knew anything about the theft when an argument broke out with a 25-year-old woman, who is a legal owner of an RDP house. ”They started beating her,” Ndobe said.
Someone then phoned her 34-year-old husband who was on his way to work.
”He turned back and tried to intervene when he saw them assaulting his wife.”
Ndobe alleged the Red Ants beat the man with crowbars and he died at the scene.
”Residents then started protesting and were burning tyres and fought back to protect their families and belongings. Police were then called in to defuse the situation.”
Ndobe said they were awaiting the arrest of three or more suspects.
”We will find the culprits,” he said.
On Friday, Gauteng provincial housing minister Nomvula Mokonyane called on police to expedite the investigation into the death of the man.
”Loss of life, irrespective of the reasons behind the conflict, is regrettable, our heartfelt condolences go to the family of the deceased.”
She said people who threatened to or had illegally occupied houses would be dealt with according to the law.
”Government considers housing and service delivery in general as key to uplift our people, therefore we cannot allow anybody within or outside government to derail our effort to achieve this goal”, she
Ekurhuleni municipality said it was disturbed by the incident, which it condemned. ”The municipality sympathises with the family of the deceased and calls for immediate calm in the area … We believe that the police with the help of witnesses will make a breakthrough on the case soon, said spokesperson Zweli Dlamini.
He said it had to be made clear that the Red Ants were brought into the area to protect the houses from vandals and illegal occupants.
”The municipality is doing all we can to ensure that whatever caused the situation to deteriorate to this level is addressed as a matter of urgency,” he said. – Sapa