The Star: Red Ants ‘cornered man, killed him’

Red Ants ‘cornered man, killed him’

November 21 2008 at 06:49AM

By Poloko Tau and Beauregard Tromp

A resident was brutally killed at an RDP settlement in Ekurhuleni, allegedly by Red Ants guarding new houses against illegal occupation.

But this assertion has been denied by the Gauteng Department of Housing, which had contracted the Red Ants and who said the death was a result of a fight between members of the community over occupation of houses.

The incident has resulted in a furious standoff between the Red Ants and the enraged community of Eden Park Extension 5, who called for the guards in red overalls to be taken out of the area yesterday.

Meanwhile, a police statement said the Red Ants had attacked 34-year-old Alfred Ngubeni shortly after they had assaulted his 25-year-old wife, Ayanda Zulu.

According to the police, it all started after razor wire that had fenced in houses being guarded was stolen.

Police spokesperson Captain Mega Ndobe said part of the fence was missing when the guards woke up on Thursday morning.

He said the Red Ants had gone door to door investigating the theft, when a clash erupted between them and Zulu.

“They started assaulting her and that’s when her husband was called. He tried talking to them when he arrived, but the Red Ants attacked him with crowbars and he was certified dead on the scene,” said Ndobe.

Ngubeni’s friend, Lucky Williams, said the deceased never provoked the Red Ants.

“They were about 50 of them chasing him through the houses. He wanted to hide in a house, but they started smashing its windows. He then jumped out through the back window but others saw him,” he said.

According to Williams, Ngubeni, who was armed, fired a warning shot in the air in a bid to scare the Red Ants away.

When they did not retreat, he stopped and asked what was wrong, and that’s when they started assaulting him.

Housing spokesperson Aviva Manqa stated on Thursday night that a project manager at the site had said the Red Ants – infamous for conducting mass evictions – were not responsible for the killing. “What we’ve gathered is that people were fighting over houses, legal and illegal occupiers. However, should it be that they (Red Ants) are responsible, the department will take steps against them,” he said.

Two men were taken in for questioning but were later released.

o This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on November 21, 2008