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With a High Court order in hand, the Johannesburg Property Company has had to resort to evicting people from illegally built structures on City-owned land.
OCCUPANTS of illegally built buildings in Lenasia are being evicted following a court order obtained from the Gauteng High Court by the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) on 15 June to demolish the structures.

The JPC says it attempted to resolve the matter amicably to avoid high legal costs; several meetings between the company and Region G officials and the occupants were held, but to no avail. The occupants were warned in all the meetings about the course of action that would be followed should they not move voluntarily and take down the structures they had built, it adds.

But after these warnings were ignored, the JPC was left with no choice but to go the legal route.

“Proper process for occupying and building on City-owned land was not followed,” said the executive manager of the legal department at the company, Verusha Morgan. “We want to send a strong message to the illegal occupiers and builders on City-owned land that we will not tolerate illegal actions that hinder the development of Joburg.”

The JPC is the only municipal-owned entity that is allowed to develop and manage the City’s property. “Illegal occupation and building on City-owned land and property has a negative economic development impact on the communities, the City and investors because resources that should be used on development are spent on legal processes,” Morgan said.

“The JPC will take all possible steps to protect City-owned land and property assets.”

As part of its mandate, the property company engages continuously with residents through face-to-face meetings at all seven of Joburg’s regional offices. “The objective is to inform the community of the development plans for vacant land and City of Johannesburg properties within their regions,” said the company’s public relations and media officer, Brian Mahlangu.

“One of the expected outcomes from this exercise is to encourage the community to protect, preserve and prevent land fraudsters from illegally occupying, building and/or selling the City’s property assets,” he said.

Disadvantaged communities and businesses are at the core of the JPC’s objectives, which include harnessing its portfolio transactions to increase economic growth and broad-based black economic empowerment, and creating jobs and economic opportunities.

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