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​A filthy, overcrowded hijacked building will soon be emptied, with residents moving to alternative accommodation, assisted by the City.
RESIDENTS evicted from a hijacked building in Doornfontein will soon be moved to alternative accommodation in the inner city.

MMC Dan Bovu: City committed toMMC Dan Bovu: City committed to improving lives of residentsThis follows a Constitutional Court ruling made in December 2011 ordering the City to provide accommodation to people evicted from buildings owned by private individuals.

Speaking to residents of Number 7 Saratoga Avenue on Wednesday, 25 April, the member of the mayoral committee for housing, Dan Bovu, said the City did not have emergency funds to provide this alternative accommodation, but, because of the court ruling, it had made contingency plans.

He said 40 of the 53 residents who had applied for rented accommodation with the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco) would soon be moving to the MVB building on the corner of Quartz and Hancock streets.

The rest would be moved to a shelter owned by a non-governmental organisation. Here, they would be involved in human development programmes aimed at helping them improve their lives. All residents would be moved on the last day of April and would be transported with their luggage to their new homes.

Bovu encouraged those moving to the shelter to fill in the forms to speed up the process. “We need to know who is moving into the shelter because in government everything has to be documented,” he said.

After he spoke, the residents were able to ask questions of him and of the ward councillor, Mzwandile Tyobeka. Most complained of being rushed out of the place they had called home for many years, as well as of moving to a place they had never seen before.

Number 7 Saratoga is in a dilapidated stateNumber 7 Saratoga is in a dilapidated stateHowever, the soft spoken Bovu apologised for the inconvenience and said they could go and view their new accommodation, and then sign the documents.

One of the concerns for people moving to MVB was what would happen if they were unable to pay their rent at some point because of unforeseen circumstances. Bovu advised them to inform Joscho beforehand should that happen so they could be offered accommodation they could afford.

The filthy and overcrowded seven-storey block on Saratoga Avenue has been home to 35-year-old Simon Msibi for eight years. Msibi, who is going to the MVB building, said he was delighted that he was moving to a new and safe place.

Another resident who was pleased with the move, Thabisile Zungu, said she had been living in the Saratoga building for a year. She would also be moving to MVB. “I am very happy my kids will grow up in a safe environment,” she said.

Bovu said his department wanted to establish a working relationship with people who were evicted and their lawyers.

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