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Ennerdale residents concerned about losing their land

Dozens of the cases are in Ennerdale and involve buildings being erected on stands without the land’s ownership being properly established.

Yvonne Gerpert (70) breathes through an oxygen pipe outside a house in Ennerdale she shares with her children and grandchildren because a piece of land allegedly belonging to her family has been occupied by two other families. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – An Eyewitness News investigation into ongoing housing problems in Ennerdale, south of Johannesburg has revealed an intricate web of alleged land grabs, corruption claims and suspicious transactions.

The issues relate to dozens of buildings erected on empty stands without their ownership being properly established.

Construction companies in the area claim they’re being used as scapegoats by corrupt provincial government officials but the Gauteng Human Settlements Department has denied that some of its officials are involved in land scams.

Meanwhile, residents are concerned that they’re losing land that is rightfully theirs.

Eyewitness News has seen a five-page list compiled by the local municipality that details scores of apparent land invasions in the south of Johannesburg over the last year.

Dozens of the cases are in Ennerdale and involve buildings being erected on stands without the land’s ownership being properly established.

A fragile 70-year-old Yvonne Gerpert says she’s among the victims.

She lives in a small house in mid-Ennerdale and her family is struggling to stop people from invading a piece of land left to her by her mother.

“She worked as a cleaner at the school with that money she bought the land, which other people wanted to get hold of.”

WATCH: Unearthed: Ennerdale land invasions uncovered

Local city councillor Danny Netnou says that at least 400 houses have been illegally built over the past six years on property owned by others.

“You find out that the people are sitting with documents from the council, that doesn’t come from council; somebody has changed all the names on the documents.”

He says that the area’s building inspector is supposed to stop land invaders but is not doing anything, allegedly fearing for his life.

When Eyewitness News contacted the man, he refused to comment, suggesting that he could lose his job.

Meanwhile, the Gauteng Human Settlements Department's Keith Khoza says that officials are not fully in control of tracking who rightfully owns the land.

“We can only be in full control if people talk to us. So it’s a corner transaction, in some dark corner, and it’s beyond government’s control. Under any circumstances, it’s difficult to control that.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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