Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Lebogang Maile says government will work with law enforcement officials to track down what he calls organised land invasion syndicates which spread misleading information on evictions in Lawley, Johannesburg.
This after reports claimed that some 500 people had their homes demolished and were evicted from the area last Thursday.
The City of Johannesburg says it’s clamping down on illegal land invasions by removing half-built structures in the area.
“These structures were demolished to prevent land invasions, however, the criminal syndicates behind these illegal invasions spread false rumours and gave misleading information that there would be evictions in the area, in order to mobilise the community for their own selfish end. We won’t tolerate any opportunistic illegality and as such we will unleash the full might of the law against those who want to invade land illegally during this crisis.”
Maile spoke during a media briefing in Johannesburg:
The government has put a moratorium on evictions during the lockdown however Maile says they are dealing with organised criminals.
“Criminal syndicates taking advantage of legitimate housing needs within communities during this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis have been behind the rise in illegal land occupations around the province. In Johannesburg, there have been illegal land grabs in places such as Alexandra, Ennerdale, Devland, Freedom Park and Lawley, Diepsloot and Roodepoort amongst other areas, whilst in Tshwane there is a sprawling, two-week-old informal settlement around Garankuwa and reports of invasions around Atteridgeville,” Maile explains.
In the video below, SABC News Reporter Nozintombi Miya speaks to Lebogang Maile on measures that government will implement to combat land invasions during the lockdown: