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Mashatile: Task team to deal with illegal occupation, hijacking of buildings

Paul Mashatile has described the growing trend of occupying or hijacking buildings as a 'breeding ground for crime and grime'.

FILE: Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Paul Mashatile. Picture: ANC.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Paul Mashatile has set up a task team to deal with the illegal occupation and hijacking of buildings in the province's city centres.

Over the weekend, Mashatile visited residents in downtown Johannesburg who were displaced in a deadly fire that engulfed a building last week.

At least seven people were killed in the blaze that also left several injured.

Mashatile has described the growing trend of occupying or hijacking buildings as a “breeding ground for crime and grime”.

He has also condemned the neglect of buildings saying he’s angered by the “squalor that’s gripped cities and towns in the province”.

The MEC's spokesperson Keith Khoza said, “During the visit, it became quite evident that there are a number of buildings that have been hijacked, where owners who owe the city a lot of money for water and electricity decided to abandon those buildings and people took occupation without authorisation.”

Mashatile has directed the head of his department to establish the provincial task team which he says will include officials from all municipalities in Gauteng, the Home Affairs Department, law enforcement agencies and the Gauteng Housing Rental Tribunal.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)