Upbeat Mashaba vows to reclaim 500 Joburg buildings

17 September 2017 - 06:45 By PATRICK BULGER
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba surveys the city  skyline from the roof of  his offices  in Braamfontein.
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba surveys the city skyline from the roof of his offices in Braamfontein.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

More than 500 hijacked buildings have been identified in Johannesburg’s inner city, as part of mayor Herman Mashaba’s campaign to bring safety and order back to the area.

This week, residents and business owners in the city were counting the cost of a debilitating 11-day blackout following the theft of critical underground copper cabling.

And they said that while they were happy that work was finally under way to transform the area, they had yet to notice any improvements.

But progress is being made, albeit slowly. Some 1,500 metro police officers have been appointed to boost visible policing, 25 new surveillance cameras have been installed since July, and refuse collection has increased to three times a day.

The city is now trying to secure alternative accommodation for illegal occupants, before handing the hijacked buildings over to developers to turn into affordable housing.

But in an interview in the Sunday Times this week, Mashaba tells how he refuses to take responsibility for foreigners living in the inner city, saying they must find their own place to live.

• Read more about the inroads being made in the city centre, as well as the “reluctant” mayor’s mission to rid his office of ANC cronies, in the Sunday Times today.

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