09/09/2016: Illegal land occupation
The City of Johannesburg has noted with concern various incidents of illegal land occupations across the municipality. We have information that has led us to conclude that they are politically orchestrated by the ANC, with the deliberate aim of destabilising this new coalition administration.
We condemn these illegal acts outright. This is not only unlawful, but more worryingly, is the blatant abuse of vulnerable members of our communities to achieve political ends. This is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.
What those hell-bent at destabilising the city at all costs must understand is that with every illegal land occupation, land for housing developments is held up, and law abiding residents, who have been waiting for services and houses for years under previous ANC administrations, are made to wait even longer.
Their conduct is anti-poor, illegal and does not have the best interests of those who have been ignored by the ANC for years at heart. This coalition administration is committed to doing everything possible to restore the dignity of our people through the provision of adequate housing, equipped with all the required basic services.
As part of our blueprint to move the City forward, we’ve committed to running an inclusive, responsive and pro-poor government, which will be accessible to all. One of our top priorities is to complete an official and credible housing waiting list and get it signed by myself, as Executive Mayor as soon as possible. We have also committed to produce a report on the Province and the City’s total housing stock - to determine how many houses are yet to be allocated to beneficiaries.
It’s is acknowledged that there are people who have been on the City’s housing waiting list since 1996/97 and still do not have access to proper housing. This is made worse by the lack of transparency in the housing lists under previous administrations which has led to suspicions of corruption. The City is committed to tackling these inherited challenges head-on.
We have set out to fast-track the handover of title deeds. We acknowledge that title deeds would enable residents to access bank loans, giving them access to the economy and thereby empowering residents with an important tool the lift themselves out of poverty.
We also remain committed to completing a credible and transparent housing waiting list which I, as the Executive Mayor, will sign-off within 90 days. We are also committed to upgrading informal settlements in an effort to provide basic services and land tenure by the end of this term.
Subsidised housing will be allocated according to the qualification criteria and residents are encouraged to register with the relevant authorities. We also call on residents to blow the whistle on any fraudulent and corrupt activities associated with the allocation of subsidised houses. Corruption steals from the poor, and my administration will not stand for it.
Having announced our intention to turn the City of Johannesburg around, we hereby call on residents and members of the public to cease illegal land occupations and to understand that there’s is no quick fix to the massive housing backlog in the City of Johannesburg.
We will not lie to residents. There is a big back-log and it is going to take lots of hard work by the city to start making a dent in these inherited challenges.
We therefore call on all residents to exercise restraint and be patient with the housing allocation process. Residents should not be misled and used by individuals pushing political agendas. All land occupation, without prior authorisation by relevant authorities remains illegal and by law, the JMPD is mandated to evict people off illegally occupied land.
This is an outcome which the City wishes to avoid because we know the real concerns that residents face, and how the instigators of such conduct are politically motivated. But we require residents to work with us and stop these actions. Our promise to you is to always be honest about the progress being made and to keep you informed with updates.
The City remains committed to providing a wide range of well-located, good quality, adequately serviced, safe and affordable accommodation opportunities for all its residents. This will be a first step towards restoring the dignity of communities in our city and start building a Joburg that is inclusive; truly a home for all.
Councillor Herman Mashaba
City of Joburg