624 04.07.2013 Red Ants move belongings of at Cope Affordable Housing residents to the streets in Fordsburg. Tenants had their belongings taken out of the homes to the streets by the Red Ants. Two weeks ago other residents were evicted in the same complex and today everybody was taken out and the all units remain empty. Picture: Sharon Seretlo

Johannesburg - “Mama, our clothes are over there.” These were the words of a girl who was helping her mother look for their clothing in the street after the Red Ants had evicted them from their family home on Thursday.

The men in red had come to evict the last remaining residents of Cope Affordable Housing in Fordsburg, Joburg, once again.

They emptied out the remaining units of the 350-unit site.

Two weeks ago, on June 20, the sheriff of the court arrived at the property, allegedly unannounced.

The residents claimed on Thursday the sheriff had done this again yesterday morning while they were still in court, opposing the court order against them.

Resident Puseletso Mdluli said their case was dismissed on June 27, but the court ruled that they had to be given at least 14 days to move out. “It has only been four days and they are kicking people out again,” she said.

The case revolves around ownership of the building and subsidies, and has been going on for 10 years. The block of flats was built to house low-income earners.

Many believe they are being evicted because of the Newtown Mall that is being built nearby.

“This last group of people who remained in the flats were our last hope. We want to appeal and take the matter to the Constitutional Court. We have subsidies and can’t qualify for housing again,” said Mdluli.

Gaya Scheepers was part of the hundreds of people who were evicted on June 20. She is still traumatised by the experience. Scheepers claimed that most of her belongings were either stolen or broken. She was lucky to still have her personal information with her in a bag.

After the eviction, the 60-year-old pensioner had to move in with her sister Faheemah in Riverlea.

Scheepers said she cries when she thinks about how she and other residents were “thrown out like dogs” from their homes.

The DA’s Jack Bloom said in a statement that there had been allegations of corruption concerning a R14 million loan that, according to the residents, had led to the situation.


The Star