Gauteng Department of Human Settlements has finally rebuilt a house in Atteridgeville that was unlawfully demolished over three years ago.
The house was demolished in 2017 when the red ants were executing an eviction order on behalf of the department.
The Mhlahla family was since then sent from pillar to post as they battled to have their house rebuilt by the department.
In February 2020, the Public Protector found that the house was unlawfully demolished, and ordered the department to rebuild the house within three months after releasing the report.
On Friday Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile, handed the newly built three bedroom house to the family.
Maile admits that the department mishandled the matter.
“The family doesn’t deserve to experience the kind of treatment and pain that they have experienced. It is for that reason that we had to apologize because we acknowledge. We are not defending ourselves and trying to create an impression that we did nothing wrong.
“Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here. We would have taken the Public Protector’s report on review. It would have lasted another few years but that's not how government treats its citizens,” said Maile.
The Mhlahla family said it is ready to close the painful chapter.
“I think nobody is ready to see how much we have suffered. We are now ready to let it go because if we keep complaining about the size it will make the process longer. We will also seem like we are ungrateful. We are now ready to move on with our lives,” said family representative, Lindiwe Toheed.
Toheed said they are “only human” and the experience was traumatic.
The government partnered with the private sector to rebuild the house.