Statement by the Right2Know campaign, 5 July 2019
The Right2Know welcomes the decision by the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSiRA) to suspend the services of the Red Ants pending an investigation into their conduct. In June 2017, the community of Ivory Park with the assistance of R2K Gauteng lodged a formal complaint with PSiRA against the Red Ants Security, Relocation & Eviction Services for the assault, murder, theft and destruction of property that occurred in Ivory Park on 22 May 2017. Similar conduct was observed in Midvaal and Lenasia.
This complaint was lodged after events on 22 May 2017 when Ekurhuleni Metro police and the Red Ants forcefully and violently removed Ivory Park residents from their homes, destroyed their structures and stole much of the building material. When met with resistance they responded with immense violence. The Red Ants beat many people with the crowbars they were using to dismantle structures. A vendor in the area, Samuel Mabunda, was beaten and kicked so severely by the Red Ants, that he later died of his injuries in hospital. When other residents tried to help him, the Red Ants initially kept them away with rubber bullets.
In addition to the complaint lodged with PSiRA over the conduct of the Red Ants, R2K and Ivory Park residents also lodged a complaint with IPID over the conduct of the Ekurhuleni metro police. The EMPD was in charge of the evictions on the day, and stood by as many residents were beaten and possessions were stolen, without intervening or protecting the residents. This is also only one of several complaints against the Red Ants, with many other incidents of theft, assault and destruction of property remaining unreported. In many cases, residents evicted by the Red Ants are in vulnerable and precarious positions and are unable to take the risk of officially reporting violations.
In response to these demands, PSiRA instituted an investigation into the Red Ants, which resulted in a tribunal which began in February this year. We call on PSiRA to make the minutes and the report of this tribunal available to the public.
While the suspension of the Red Ants services is welcomed, we demand that the employees of the Red Ants who were involved in the violence on that day be charged with murder.
We continue to demand:
- We call for PSIRA to officially de-register the Red Ants as a security firm given their repeated violence and criminality including reported rape allegations.
- We call on the Minister of Police to take action to ensure the safety of all residents during protest and evictions from the violence of some police officers.
- We call on the Minister of Police and the Minister of Human Settlements to ensure that the Red Ants will no longer be employed by the state.
- We call for immediate suspension and disciplinary action against the EMPD officers involved on the day.
- We call for immediate investigations by IPID and the SAPS into all police officers and employees of the Red Ants who were involved in the violence on that day.