KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works, Sipho Nkosi says they are working on intervention measures to reclaim hijacked government-owned buildings in the Durban CBD.
This as 23 of the 81 government-owned buildings in the CBD have been hijacked and illegally occupied for years.
The people living in these buildings are believed to be both South Africans and foreign nationals. Some of the illegal occupants have turned the buildings into hubs for criminal activities.
Hlomuka says the hijacked buildings are now run down as they are not maintained.
“At the moment, we have not made any pronouncement, as we have indicated that we are going to do this investigation and thereafter, declare the government’s position on the matter. It was a sore point where we saw the living conditions of our people in the hijacked buildings, that they were bad. It’s our responsibility to make sure that the living conditions of our people improve.”
Occupants of the dilapidated buildings say they are desperate for a place to call home. They say the government needs to take some accountability because, in some instances government did not do regular maintenance after taking over a previously privately owned building.
“We are living under the conditions of human settlement of which they come every now and then to maintain the building. We have tried to maintain the building ourselves because there are kids and we try to keep everyone safe.”