‘Residents losing their homes to criminal syndicates’

 

Residents of Windsor and some southern suburbs in the City of Johannesburg are being illegally evicted from their homes by alleged criminal syndicates claiming to be in possession of valid eviction orders.

The City’s Executive Mayor, Herman Mashaba, said the communities say these syndicates illegally construct additional units or structures on property they have illegally acquired and then rent out these units for their own benefit, all while illegally connecting to the City’s services.

“Most of these properties are then used as drug dens and turn our young girls into sex slaves,” he said.

Since taking office, addressing the need for housing has been one of the mayor’s top priorities. However, the City has a backlog of 300 000 housing units and limited resources for addressing that challenge.

“I have therefore instructed the City’s legal team to investigate these allegations, provide a report on the matter and advise on how to proactively begin addressing this problem,” said Mashaba.

The City’s group forensic team is also going to intensify raids in these communities to profile the size of the problem, the mayor said.

Ward 98 councillor, Beverley Weweje, previously pointed out that their biggest problem at the moment is overcrowding in Windsor East where the surrounding flats are occupied by more people than there should be.

“I believe the biggest problems will be resolved once the property issues have been solved. We are currently in the process of identifying problem properties and to take the relevant [action],” Weweje explained.

The City’s Public Safety MMC, Michael Sun, paid a visit to the area in February. At the heated meeting, it became clear that drug abuse, overcrowding, constant noise pollution and illegal street vendors add to the many problems residents of Windsor deal with.

Complaints about police officers involved in bribery and unethical behaviour were also raised.

Sun said he was aware of the drug problem in the area, saying it was an issue plaguing our society and all neighbourhoods.

“Metro police have limited resources, but with the refocused K9 Narcotic and Tactical Unit we are taking on drug lords,” he said.

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  AUTHOR
Chantelle Fourie

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