Anti-land invasions in Johannesburg, South Africa; Courtesy: City of Johannesburg.

The City of Johannesburg, working the Gauteng provincial government, has launched an anti-land invasion unit to combat the recent upsurge in illegal land grabs across the City.

Executive Mayor Geoffrey Makhubo, Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements Lebogang Maile, MEC for Infrastructure Development Tasneem Motara and Faith Mazibuko, the MEC for Community Safety launched the unit in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg recently.

“I am glad that we are working together with the Gauteng province to push back these land-grabbing syndicates. We need to discourage the illegal occupation of land,” said Mayor Makhubo. The unit will be comprised of about 1 500 patrollers to be deployed across hotspots. In addition, the City will intensify the full rollout of the Rapid Land Response Programme, which affords’ residents serviced stands to build themselves houses. “We have developed a strategy to prevent land grabs from imploding in our City,” the mayor said.

Cllr Makhubo has conceded that the City faces a plethora of urban development challenges relating to unemployment, climate change adaptation and spatial transformation. 

To ensure liveable communities and shelter for all, the City intends to address homelessness and landlessness by focusing on housing and land provision.  He said the municipality will increase housing stock, speed up the delivery of title deeds to state-subsidised housing, update housing policies and explore solutions to incorporate problem buildings (and their residents) into the municipal housing plan.

“The City will provide access to affordable, improved and mixed housing that will contribute to reducing social inequalities, improve social integration and strengthen the drive towards sustainable urbanisation,” the Mayor explained. 

Free rudimentary service delivery will be expanded in informal settlements through the rollout of water, electricity and sanitation. Access to communal standpipes and sanitation in the form of Ventilated Improved Pit (VIPs), waterborne toilets and ablution blocks will also be provided.  

“This will ensure that disadvantaged communities can equally access basic services associated with dignity and health.” 

Cllr Makhubo also indicated that the municipality is working to improve existing infrastructure through upgrading, maintenance and renewal/replacement projects.

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