Jan Mlungu, with his daughter Lebo, allege their belongings were stolen by members of the Red Ants on Friday after houses built too close to the Gautrain lines were demolished. Picture: Itumeleng English African News Agency(ANA)
An 11-year-old girl’s anguish at losing her school uniform underscored the Alexandra community’s pain after Friday’s demolitions, as politicians continue squabbling over who’s to blame for the despair.

A disaster management official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that as of Sunday 163 names were on her list of affected people after the Red Ants destroyed about 80 dwellings.

The Star visited the township on Sunday and found Grade 6 learner Lebo and her father Jan Mlungu trying to piece together their home, which was destroyed following what the City of Joburg said was a court order obtained to remove people who had allegedly built illegal structures on land adjacent to the Gautrain route.

The demolitions have elicited a torrent of finger pointing between politicians, with Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Lebogang Maile apportioning blame to the “DA/EFF coalition government in Joburg”, and the EFF’s Gauteng chairperson Mandisa Mashego alleging that “the corrupt ANC” was at fault.

However, young Lebo said she couldn’t care about all the politicking, adding she had been wearing the same clothes since Friday as it was a casual day at her school.

“I’m only worried about what I’m going to wear to school (today) as I’ve lost all of my school uniform, including my jerseys. All our clothes went missing after the demolitions; it’s cold and I don’t know what I’ll wear throughout winter.

“So I’m not really concerned about the politicians,” she said .

Her views were echoed by her father, Mlungu, who said only his three-year-old son’s clothing was still there. because they had been buried deep in his room.

“I cashed in my investments (R52 000) to take my family out of a rental backyard to build them a home. Now I have to start over. It really is tough,” he said.

Other residents showed The Star the makeshift rooms which housed them over the cold weekend, with 54-year-old Pinky Mkhwanazi saying they had all slept on the cold concrete floors.

Maile reiterated that “the demolition of houses in Alex should not have happened in our democracy which we cherish so much.

Funzela Ngobeni, Joburg’s mayoral committee member for finance, said on Friday that the demolitions occurred after the city had obtained a court order, but an investigation would be launched as “the requisite processes” may not have been followed.

The EFF’s Mashego, although blaming “the corrupt ANC”, said in Alex on Monday that she was heading to mayor Herman Mashaba’s office “to have serious discussions about what’s going on in his municipality”.

Mashaba’s spokesperson Luyanda Mfeka said a decision will be made on Monday.