People who occupied land beside the Cape Town township of Dunoon were forced out of their homes on Thursday.
Working under heavy police guard, staff from the Red Ants security company tore down shacks that had been built illegally.
After two days of violent protests along Malibongwe Drive – where two trucks were set alight on Wednesday – a police contingent armed with tear gas canisters and rubber bullets stood by as more than 300 shacks were broken down.
Residents of the illegal settlement stood in front of a line of armed security and hurled insults as one woman wept inconsolably.
“I’ve got no money,” said 54-year-old Gladys Lindiwe. “We could not pay the R800 in Dunoon, with electricity and food. I don’t know where we are going to sleep.”
Resident August Moeletsi, who said he had been living on the site for just over three months, said residents had not been offered anywhere else to go.
“Our children are in the schools and creches this morning, but where will they sleep tonight? They came in banging down doors, with no warning. We weren’t able to collect our food and things,” he said.
“We are already living like animals out here. Where must we go now?” he asked. “If I go over there to ask them, they will just shoot me.”
One by one, the 307 shacks that had occupied the land were torn apart, and some residents could be seen hauling mattresses and black bags of possessions across the field.
Others vowed to rebuild the settlement once the police and Red Ants had left, saying this was not the first eviction operation there.
“We’ll build again,” said Xolile Xolo, 34. “We’ll sleep on this field the whole night and build again tomorrow.”
JP Smith, the City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security, said the land owner had been awarded an eviction order by the high court.