National government must offer housing to refugees and asylum seekers, says Mashaba

The office of the mayor is 'screening and profiling' all those evicted.

Mayor Herman Mashaba has clarified comments he made to a talk radio station yesterday morning to the effect that it is not his responsibility to provide refugees with accommodation.

“That responsibility lies with the national government, who when the need arises must offer accommodation to refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented foreigners. It is not in the scope or responsibilities of the city to do so,” said Siyanda Makhubo, media specialist for the mayor.

Makhubo further told The Citizen that Mashaba had been in talks with the department of home affairs to run a profile of all those evicted. Once the department had “screened and profiled” all of them, the city would be able to assist once that process had been completed this week.

According to the city, “520 illegal/hijacked buildings in the inner city” have been identified for profiling. Prior to this, Mashaba is said to have met with the then home affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba, in December 2016 to “discuss issues pertaining to undocumented foreigners in the city of Joburg”.

READ MORE: Mashaba accuse so-called human rights lawyers of making his work difficult

“On [a] provincial level, the mayor has been having meetings with the MEC for human settlements [Paul Mashatile]. The meetings involved issues around the housing backlog in the city and the fact that provincial government had decreased the city’s housing subsidies.

“The meetings have resulted in some success for the city, in that the MEC topped up the housing subsidy by R147 million. This will assist the city to make some difference in addressing the 300 000 housing backlog that the City currently faces,” said Makhubo.

Despite singling out the UN and its housing and refugees agencies as among the organisations Mashaba has written to, the city’s response to how it communicated their concerns to these entities was scant on details or current arrangements they managed to agree on.

“More often than not when the city is informed of an eviction, the city will seek temporary accommodation for residents. During this process, the City will engage with a whole range of NGOs, civil organisations, some organs and entities of state and human rights lawyers.

“The sole purpose of this is so that all parties are able to find long-lasting and permanent solutions to the housing problem that evictees experience,” added Makhubo.

War of words erupts between Gigaba and Mashaba … again

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