More than 200 families in Soweto could spend this winter out in the cold after the City of Johannesburg served them with eviction notices, for unlawfully occupying incomplete and vandalised RDP houses.

Criminals turned empty houses in Klipspruit, Extension Six and surrounding areas, into drug dens and used them as hiding spots.

A contractor apparently abandoned the project due to a contractual dispute with the city.

Most of the occupants have refurbished the properties, but the City of Johannesburg wants them to move.

The residents accuse government of failing them as they face imminent eviction for unlawfully occupying incomplete and derelict RDP houses.

“The houses show that they did not have owners. For four years they have been standing empty. For almost three years now we have been living in this house. If they say this house has an owner, the owner would have arrived already. Honestly, I  am clueless as to what I am going to do,” says one of the affected residents.

The housing project was reportedly started in 2010 by the city, but had to stop due to an alleged contractual dispute.

The City’s Spokesperson Nthatisi Modingoane has declined to respond to specific questions relating to the matter.

“The Klipspruit Extension matter relates to a group of individuals who illegally invaded RDP houses in the area.  Their action is depriving legitimate owners of their right to own property. The city is not in a position to respond to the claim made by the individuals at this point since the matter is before the courts.”