Johannesburg - This is just one house - worth more than R1 million - among the many in line to be demolished in a province-wide crackdown because it was built illegally.
The house was built on land belonging to the Emfuleni local municipality.
Emfuleni local municipality mayor Greta Hlongwane and member of the mayoral committee for housing Manana Kubheka told The Star exclusively about her municipality’s intention to demolish more than 200 houses built in Ironsyde/Debonair Park, near De Deur in the Vaal region.
The houses were not registered with the Deeds Office. The houses have access to water, electricity and reticulation services, but Hlongwane says all these services were connected illegally.
She said the municipality had made several attempts to disconnect the homes, but the owners had reconnected themselves.
Some of the illegal occupiers still living in shacks in the area also had DStv in their fully electrified corrugated iron houses.
Hlongwane said that even as the council was planning to demolish the complete houses, there were houses that were still at the foundation phase, while others were at an advanced stage of construction.
Kubheka said the situation was worse in the Vaal region.
She agreed with MEC for local government and housing Ntombi Mekgwe that the mushrooming of these illegal houses was the work of syndicates operating all over Gauteng.
Other municipalities in the province have employed security companies to guard against the illegal invasion of municipal land and buildings.
“This seriously affects our budget,” a councillor said in Parktown on Tuesday.
Emfuleni municipality officials corroborated their political bosses and showed The Star copies that the sale of their land happened through a syndicate allegedly led by a man named Nangalembe Albert Mbalekelwa - alias Mandla Langalembe.
The officials, who refused to be named, said Langalembe was the sole owner of Builder Advancement Services and has an account with a reputable bank. One of the officials said people who buy land illegally make their payments into that bank account on a regular basis.
The Star has also seen records of various payments made into the bank account. Some of the people making payments live in the Soweto townships of Zola, Pimville and Emndeni as well the southern Joburg suburbs of Ormonde, Meredale, Naturena, Devland, Eikenhof, Mondeor and Ridgeway, and further south in Lawley.
Kubheka was emphatic that her municipality would act soon against the illegal occupiers, but Langalembe vowed to stop them in their tracks.
He said the disputed land belonged to the Wildebeesfontein Evaton Community Organisation (Weco), which he chairs.
Langalembe confirmed that a case of fraud had been opened against him at the Protea Magistrate’s Court, but said the charge was set aside.
He insisted that the land belonged to him and his committee - despite a Johannesburg High Court ruling in March this year that he and his team were occupying the land illegally.