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Johannesburg Mayor says illegal land occupations in the city are politically orchestrated


Angry residents blocked roads on Friday and Saturday to protest the illegal occupation of land and construction of shacks on it.

The city of Johannesburg’s metro police department has asked the provincial police commissioner to establish a task team to investigate those behind illegal land occupations in Lenasia and surrounding areas which residents say are politically orchestrated, said mayor Herman Mashaba on Tuesday.

Angry residents blocked roads leading into parts of Lenasia South, Ennerdale, and Zakariyya Park on Friday and Saturday to protest the illegal occupation of land and construction of shacks on it.

“With investigations being the constitutionally determined preserve of the SAPS (South African Police Service), the city is reliant upon the SAPS to investigate,” Mashaba said in a statement.

He said he had met Lenasia residents on Monday who alleged the land occupations were politically orchestrated.

“These residents are in possession of evidence which demonstrates how money is exchanging hands, and already made-up shacks are being issued to those willing to pay for a piece of land where the occupations are taking place,” Mashaba said.

“Those behind these occupations are being witnessed driving around the area in high-end luxury vehicles, as a testament to the lucrative nature of their criminal activity.”

Mashaba’s Democratic Alliance, which runs Johannesburg, has called for cooperation with the Gauteng provincial government controlled by the African National Congress to grapple with the problems in Lenasia.

In a separate statement on Tuesday, DA constituency head for Lenasia Alan Fuchs said despite an undertaking from the ANC that land grabs would not be tolerated, the situation had been allowed to spiral out of control.

“This has resulted in residents of surrounding areas such as Lenasia, Lenasia South, Zakariyya Park and Ennerdale being subjected to frequent water and electricity outages, environmental degradation and increased crime,” Fuchs said.

“Residents are being prejudiced by the ANC government’s failure to provide housing, adequate infrastructure, services and to enforce the law.”

African News Agency

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