Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has said officials who authorised the demolition of illegally built houses in Alexandra last Friday, will be held accountable.
Mashaba added that he was waiting on a report from the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD), which would show the events leading up to the demolitions.
Mashaba met with community members on Monday after 80 homes were demolished last week, prompting angry residents to burn three houses in Marlboro Gardens.
He told Alexandra residents the city would make a plan to rebuild their homes within the next few days and starting from Tuesday, emergency services would be assessing the demolished structures to conduct an audit so the rebuilding can begin.
“As much as you occupy this land illegally – not because you are criminals [but] because you had no choice – the city came in and also committed a crime by removing your stuff. Government now has the responsibility of asking the city to rebuild within the next few days,” he said.
Mashaba said he had not been aware of the plan for last week’s demolitions.
“I think I cannot really say I’m disappointed, I’m personally angry. Whether you guys build here illegally or not is beside the point. The point is that you’re dealing with human beings.”
The city said whoever was responsible for authorising demolition operations in Alexandra would be held accountable.
The city said it was made aware of the operation carried out by the Red Ants, South African Police Service and Johannesburg Metro Police Department in the Marlboro informal settlement on Friday.
It has launched an investigation to determine who authorised the operation and whether it was legal.
It said it doubted that all proper processes were followed during the evictions.
Residents have claimed that they were not given notice about the eviction plans before they were forcibly removed.