Give me a chance to solve housing backlog, Mayor pleads
Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba has appealed to residents not to invade land but to give his administration a chance to provide proper and decent housing.
Speaking during a media conference on Friday, September 9, Mayor Mashaba said though he understood people’s desperation to have access to housing, occupying land illegally was not the way to go.
He said he had reason to believe that the recent land invasions in Johannesburg were politically motivated and added that he would not allow residents to be exploited for political gain.
“We are dedicated to giving people access to adequate housing to restore their dignity but all we ask is for residents to be patient with us. We took over office 17 days ago and we have already started getting the ball rolling to ensure that a credible housing waiting list is compiled and signed off by myself as Executive Mayor in 90 days,” he said.
In a 10-point plan adopted by the new administration following an intensive induction process about a week ago, the City resolved, among other things, to:
Complete the official housing waiting list and get it signed off by the Mayor in 90 days;
Produce within 60 days a report on the number of completed houses built by the city and the province but not yet allocated or handed over to the beneficiaries; and
Fast-track the handover of title deeds to ordinary residents, churches and businesses.
During Friday’s media conference, Mayor Mashaba noted that there were people who had been waiting for houses since 1996. He said people needed to understand that there was no quick fix to housing backlogs.
He said the Johannesburg Metro Police Department had been evicting illegal land occupiers but added that the City wished to avoid such action “as we know the real concerns that residents face”.
The Mayor said the City wanted to ensure that the land was fully serviced, with roads, proper sanitation, access to water and electricity, before people could live on it.
“We can’t live in the city of golden opportunities while people live on top of one another and have no addresses,” he said.
Acting Executive Director for Housing Patrick Pophi said the City would ensure that no one jumped to the front of the queue during the housing allocation. Orange Farm resident Olga Luthu said she had been waiting for an RDP house and title deed for the past 22 years and to date she still did not have a title deed.
“We’re still suffering in 2016. The 22 years of freedom have not made a difference in our lives,” Luthu said.