Red Ants/ Wozani Security (South Africa)

Country: South Africa
Details of Formation: Evidence suggests that from 2001 the government hired private Red Ants security forces.
Details of Termination: In 2014 the group was still active.
Purpose: The main purpose of the Red Ants is to destroy people’s homes (and relocate them), in cases of illegal settlements, slums and immigrant housing. Regular actions of the Red Ants pursuing this purpose are reported. While the city used the house destruction strategy to alleviate underlying socioeconomic causes of crime and poverty and prepared the city for visitors as in the 2010 World Cup, there is no information why they used the Red Ants for this task.
Organisation: The authorities mandate the Red Ants security firm. This mandate is on contract basis, and the Red Ants company is supposed to receive weekly installments form funds provided by the Johannesburg City Council. The operations which the Red Ants undertake are confirmed by court order.
Weapons and Training: Red Ants are armed with crowbars, shields and pump action shotguns. They also have visored helmets, batons, gloves and protective clothing.
Size: A news source of June 2001 speaks of 200 security guards, but this is a total of Red Ants, and another private company, and it is unclear how many were exactly Red Ants members. A news source of May 2002 mentions 300 Red Ants members involved in an operation near Soweto. In 2010, a news source suggests that the number of members has been growing, without providing further details.
Reason for Membership: Members are hired by security firms.
Treatment of Civilians: The group is involved in destruction of people’s homes by orders of the authorities. In 2001, a news source reports that while they conduct the destructions they behave kindly to the occupants and treat their belongings carefully. In 2010, a news source reports that Red Ants beat around 100 Zimbabweans whose squatter camps they cleared.
Other Information: The name “red ants” was given to the group based on the colour of their overalls.
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD