Jozi eviction plan a 'waste of time'

25 October 2017 - 06:58 By Penwell Dlamini
Aerial view of Johannesburg City centre.
Aerial view of Johannesburg City centre.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

The plan adopted by the City of Johannesburg to evict people from hijacked buildings in order to turn these assets into low-cost housing is a futile exercise.

This is the view of Alana Potter, director of research and advocacy at the Socioeconomic Rights Institute , who spoke at the SA Human Rights Commission indaba on access to housing for migrants living in Gauteng.

Potter alerted the gathering in Braamfontein on Tuesday to the fact that section 26 of the constitution states that everyone has the right to adequate housing.

"Citizenship is not specified in the constitution. It does not say that everyone who is a South African has a right to proper housing. It says everyone who lives in South Africa."

Potter raised questions about Johannesburg's housing strategy.

"Unlike his predecessor the mayor unashamedly described undocumented migrants as illegal, criminals and as targets of his raids.

"The city's logic - or illogic - is that by evicting or deporting poor and undocumented people the city will become attractive to private investment for affordable housing.

"This approach is one of futility. Evicting, arresting and deporting foreign nationals is making no inroads towards addressing the structural and systemic issues that drive the inner-city accommodation crisis.

"You can't move poor people out through raids. It is not a strategy that has worked."

Mayor Herman Mashaba recently presented a strategy to the council in which he would take over the hijacked buildings, renovate them and make them available for affordable housing.

The council adopted the plan. 

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