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Tired of waiting: Ennerdale residents resort to illegal land occupation

Farouk Jardine, who mobilised the illegal occupation, says he’s told at least 3,000 more residents to set up their homes.

Ennerdale residents illegally erecting shacks on a piece of land. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – Ennerdale residents have told Eyewitness News that in the absence of what they perceive as a lack of commitment from the government, they have now resorted to illegally occupying land and erecting shacks on open land.

Last year, residents from sections of the southern Johannesburg suburb embarked on protests to highlight their grievances.

The violent demonstrations spread to areas including Eldorado Park, Finetown and Lenasia which saw residents looting shops and dozens of people arrested.

In the immediate aftermath, then Human Settlements MEC Paul Mashatile and former minister Lindiwe Sisulu promised to address the housing backlog.

On a chilly Monday morning, a group of people arrived at the open field in Ennerdale and immediately got to work, assembling pieces of corrugated iron to erect shacks.

This is the space that provincial housing authorities had earmarked for development but community members have grown impatient.

Thabo Mokwena is from Ennerdale and says: “After here, we’re going to occupy another piece of land in Extension 6. I’m going to stay mahala (for free).”

Farouk Jardine, who mobilised the illegal occupation, says he’s told at least 3,000 more residents to set up their homes.

“There was bold interest by Sanco [South African National Civic Organisation] and the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters].”

But Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Uhuru Moiloa has condemned the invasion, threatening those responsible with arrest.

“They’ve committed a crime and we’ll have no option but to act very decisively.”

The community has vowed to take the government to court if they are forcibly removed from this area.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)