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Plan for inner city housing
16 September 2010

A database is being compiled of inner city accommodation to ensure residents – mostly migrants – have decent places to stay.

JOHANNESBURG is compiling a database of available accommodation in the inner city with the aim of providing decent accommodation for the homeless.


A bad building in the inner city
A bad building in the inner city


Staring on Friday, 17 September, a team of 60 community workers will visit Hillbrow and Berea to gather information about the living conditions of residents. The City hopes that the project, dubbed Operation Ziveze (show yourself), will provide an overview of the housing and social needs of the residents.

“The aim of the operations and inspections is to ensure that building owners and landlords comply with the City’s by-laws and provide accommodation which ensures that communities live in a safe and clean environment that does not endanger their lives,” says Shaun O’Shea, the stakeholder manager in Region F.

In recent years, Joburg has been on a drive to regenerate the inner city, which includes areas like Braamfontein, Joubert Park, Yeoville and Doornfontein. Its concerted efforts to revitalise the area have led to some dilapidated buildings being renovated and decaying alleyways being spruced up.

One major problem which has persisted, according to the City, is building hijacking and slumlording. The problem occurs mostly in “bad buildings” – buildings that have been abandoned and neglected by their owners – leading to illegal occupation by people.

In most cases, these bad buildings do not have electricity or running water, are over-crowded and are a fire and safety hazard.

According to a statement from Johannesburg, many of the people living in these bad buildings pay rent to slumlords or building hijackers. In most cases, the residents are immigrants without proper immigration papers.

The operation dovetails with the City’s efforts to provide decent accommodation for migrants, according to O’Shea.

Speaking at a meeting about migration and xenophobia in Braamfontein on Tuesday, 14 September, Masondo said the lack of managed shelters had led to undesirable situations in the inner city.

“The City aims to regulate the provision of decent accommodation for migrants … By compiling a comprehensive database of migrants moving in and out of the city, Masondo assured residents this information would be key to enable the City to fine-tune its planning and delivery of services,” says O’Shea.

To help speed up the process of extending a helping hand to all people living in inhumane conditions, the City is appealing to all building owners, landlords, agents and security firms to allow officials into the buildings.

“The City has already identified buildings where the project is going to take place, and its stakeholder management has already sent out notices to inform residents in those buildings.”

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Last Updated on 27 September 2010