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Joburg Mayor Mashaba writes to MEC Maile over Lenasia south protests

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said there was a need for him and Gauteng Housing MEC Lebogang Maile to work together to avoid the trends of the past.

There is protest action affecting many routes through Lenasia South, Ennerdale and Zakariyya Park affecting many roads and this includes the Golden Highway on 19 July 2019. Picture: @EWNTraffic/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said he has written to Gauteng Housing MEC Lebogang Maile to work out a solution to problems in Lenasia south.

There are was rocked by unrest last week with police firing rubber bullets at residents protesting over land invasions and what they said was the mushrooming of shacks.

Maile visited Lenasia at the weekend and promised that the government would work to solve the issues.

Mashaba said there was a need for him and Maile to work together to avoid the trends of the past.

“For us, as the city, protests are really terrible because unfortunately in the process our infrastructure gets damaged - be it the roads and other infrastructural development. So, for us, we find it definitely difficult when we know these protests are preventable.”

On Saturday, Maile promised residents of Lenasia that he would return with Premier David Makhura to update them on what progress the government had made in addressing their grievances.

He, however, pleaded with community members to refrain from using violence to voice their concerns.

Following a day of protests, blocking of roads and police firing rubber bullets, Maile has vowed to prioritise the concerns raised by Lenasia residents.

“We’ll come back and in that meeting, we want to be dealing with the roadmap and what must happen. We’ve agreed that the problem is complex; it doesn’t need a simplistic approach.”

Maile said he could not do it alone and would invite Mashaba to come on board.

“I’ll ask the mayor to join us when we come back here.”

In the meantime, he said a task team would be set up to find short term solutions to the problems facing residents in the area.

APPROACHING THE COURTS

The Gauteng government said it would approach the courts in a bid to get an interdict against land invaders in Lenasia.

Maile has promised residents that the government was working on a solution to assist both parties.

He said they would be approaching the courts to ask for an interdict against any further illegal land occupation in Lenasia.

“And some of those eviction orders have not been executed; so, that’s the other thing we’ve established.”

Tensions have been high in the area between homeowners and those who have built shacks in the area.

Infrastructure Development MEC Tasneem Motara said the government would need to find money to address the housing crisis in the province.

“If it needs engagement with the National Treasury and national departments responsible for things related to this, municipalities and all, we’ll have to engage further.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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