There will be evictions during the lockdown period, according to Gauteng cooperative governance MEC Lebogang Maile who, during a briefing, stressed that the order did not provide a platform for land invasions.
At a briefing to specifically tackle the issue of land invasions that have, according to the MEC, spiralled out of control and thus undermined the developmental agenda of the city, Maile said a comprehensive strategy involving all spheres of government was in place to deal with illegal land invasions.
“We have put a moratorium on all evictions during lockdown but we will not tolerate any opportunistic illegality.”
Maile clarified that the Red Ants, which were instructed to demolish make-shift structures, were doing so under the instruction of the city.
Most of the demolished structures around the city were empty structures, he said.
Maile suspects that there was a syndicate which somehow sold stands to people, which has resulted in people building during the national Covid-19 lockdown.
“This is done by well-organised syndicates taking advantage of genuine housing concerns of communities to illegally occupy land and portray government as not caring for the people of Gauteng.
“We did, however, take a principled stance that we will not tolerate any opportunistic illegality and as such we will unleash the full might of the law against those who want to invade land illegally during this crisis.”
We will be allocating houses to rightful owners during the lockdown, finalising all administrative requirements to hand over, although they can’t take physical ownership of the houses yet due to the lockdown.
— Lebogang Maile (@LebogangMaile1) April 21, 2020
Administrative process will be finalised to ensure that the allocation of houses to rightful owners is finalised.
“We urge communities to work with law enforcement agencies and report any illegal activities in this regard, so that we can be able to focus on delivering quality housing to them at an accelerated pace.”
(Compiled by Gopolang Moloko)