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The recent upsurge in the number of illegal land invasions has prompted the City and the Gauteng Provincial Government to launch an anti-land invasion unit to stem the tide.
 
The Executive Mayor, Geoff Makhubo, Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements Lebogang Maile, MEC for Infrastructure Development Tasneem Motara and Faith Mazibuko, the MEC for Community Safety launched the unit in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg on Monday, 17 August.
 
“I am glad that we are working together with the Gauteng province to push back these land-grabbing syndicates. We need to discourage the illegal occupation of land,” says Cllr Makhubo.
 
As part of the strategy to combat land grabs, Cllr Makhubo says over 1 500 patrollers will be deployed to assist the JMPD police invasions.
 
In addition, the City will intensify the full rollout of the Rapid Land Response Programme, which affords' residents serviced stands to build themselves houses.
 
“We have developed a strategy to prevent land grabs from imploding in our City,” notes the Mayor.
 
Cllr Makhubo concedes that the City faces a plethora of urban development challenges relating to unemployment, climate change adaptation and spatial transformation. To ensure liveable communities and shelter for all, the City intends to address homelessness and landlessness by focusing on housing and land provision. 
 
He says the municipality will increase housing stock, speed up the delivery of title deeds to state-subsidised housing, update housing policies and explore solutions to incorporate problem buildings (and their residents) into the municipal housing plan.
 
“The City will provide access to affordable, improved and mixed housing that will contribute to reducing social inequalities, improve social integration and strengthen the drive towards sustainable urbanisation,” the Mayor explains.
 
Free rudimentary service delivery will be expanded in informal settlements through the rollout of water, electricity and sanitation. Access to communal standpipes and sanitation in the form of Ventilated Improved Pit (VIPs), waterborne toilets and ablution blocks will also be provided. 
 
“This will ensure that disadvantaged communities can equally access basic services associated with dignity and health.”
 
Cllr Makhubo says the municipality is working to improve existing infrastructure through upgrading, maintenance and renewal/replacement projects.