With rising unemployment many people face an even bigger issue with accommodation, particularly in urban areas were people come from all corners of the country to find better opportunities.
Those who get paid very little to no money are also still in need of housing, and often find themselves in situations where they are desperate, leading to the illegal occupation of land and premises.
Michael Motsoeneng-Bill recently weighed in on land invasion, hijacking of buildings and evictions in the inner cities. He spoke to Sithelo Magagula from MK Attorneys, Officer Xolani Fihla of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, and property expert Nthato Raboshaga.
Listen to the conversation here:
Syndicates in the inner city
There’s also a growing issue of crime syndicates in the inner city with international connections who are taking advantage of an unsuspecting public looking for accommodation.
According to Johannesburg property developers, at least one property in almost every street in Yeoville, Berea, Troyeville, Bertrams, Bez Valley, Jeppe, Rosettenville, Hillbrow, Turffontein and Booysens has been hijacked. Officer Xolani Fihla of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department spoke briefly about their modus operandi.
“These syndicates are exploiting members of the public, as many look for a place of residence, people aren’t aware of the process of how the land or building was acquired, all people want is a roof to sleep under. They get exploited and pay a certain fee and these people make a huge living out of you which is extremely illegal.”
In cases, where your building is illegal, occupied
A clear distinction was given during the conversation, between someone pleading homelessness and someone who refuses to pay rent.
Property owners were also urged to follow the law. In instances where a tenant isn’t paying rent there needs to be a court order issued to the tenant and all proper legal processes need to be followed.
“In the new constitutional dispensation you can’t evict people without a court order, however in some buildings in the inner city, you still find that owners have a tendency of sending certain people and scare people, saying they should leave the building. That is unlawful.”
Last year in Gauteng during the country’s lockdown the government was under fire for carrying out evictions on the province’s poorest from informal settlements in hijacked buildings, leaving hundreds out in the cold with no other home.