Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba says plans are under way to expropriate derelict buildings in the inner city in a bid to rejuvenate it.
The plans will see the city develop quality low-cost housing‚ student accommodation and affordable rental space for small businesses.
“As at 30 December 2017‚ 265 alleged hijacked buildings have been reported to the City and the matters are at various stages of investigation‚” Mashaba said.
“The redevelopment of such properties will greatly assist the city in enhancing access to low-cost‚ affordable housing for our residents close to economic opportunities. It is common knowledge that the City of Johannesburg is facing a housing crisis.”
Mashaba said the city is facing an estimated 300‚000 housing unit backlog; 158‚000 individuals on the housing waiting list; an estimated 190 informal settlements; and an estimated 3‚000 individuals migrating to Johannesburg per month. “It is therefore key for us to find new‚ innovative ways to address this crisis‚” he said.
“Unfortunately‚ some properties have been abandoned and owners cannot be traced. This makes it difficult‚ if not impossible‚ for the City to ensure compliance with applicable by-laws‚ which in turn contributes to the degradation of the urban environment.”
He said where the owners of hijacked buildings cannot be located‚ the city will bring an application for a court order to declare that the property has been abandoned and direct the Registrar of Deeds to register the property in the name of the state or its nominee.
“Where owners of hijacked properties can be found‚ the city will consider entering into compliance agreements whereby the owners are willing and able to cooperate with the City to revamp their properties. Should these property owners be unwilling to enter into such agreements‚ the city will not hesitate to commence expropriation proceedings in court.”
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