Mashaba urges city to continue converting hijacked buildings to accommodation
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Johannesburg - Outgoing Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba says human settlements will remain a failure in the metro if the government does not make bold plans to take over the inner city buildings and use them to house people.
Mashaba was addressing inner city stakeholders, including potential investors and property developers, in Johannesburg on Monday, where he said the city would have to continue with the project of claiming hijacked buildings and refurbishing them for social housing purposes.
“If we are not going to do anything about providing accommodation for our people in this inner city where there is already existing infrastructure, then we are fooling ourselves. We will never address housing challenges for our poor people for a long as we ignore this city with the current infrastructure,”Mashaba said.
He said many people who worked in the city were staying as far as Orange Farm, away from their workplaces, due to the failure of government to make many parts of Johannesburg habitable.
“People have to use three to four taxis every day to go to work,” he said.
He said the government had done very little to do away with apartheid spatial planning and instead perpetuated it over the years, where black people were deliberated placed at the periphery of economic centres.
“We have put our people 60, 80 kilometres from job opportunities without even putting together a transport system,” he said.
Mashaba said while he was packing and leaving as mayor, he was happy that the initiatives he started - including the Building New Jozi project - were going on unhindered beyond his presence and would continue improving the lives of residents.