An illegally occupied building in the Johannesburg inner city. File picture: Siphelele Dludla/African News Agency

Johannesburg - The City of Joburg on Tuesday, said it was moving ahead with efforts to reclaim hijacked properties after its Council passed a report to enable the City to reclaim local community shops in Riverlea, south of Johannesburg.

Leah Knott, Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Economic Development, said in a statement that units within the building in question will be offered on sale to the community so it can meaningfully participate in Johannesburg's economy. 

The City had previously handed over one of the units to a longstanding tenant in terms of the Land Regularisation Programme.

But it was found that the remaining shops were no longer in the hands of the original lessees and were in a serious state of disrepair, much to the Community’s frustration.

In 2018, Knott conducted an oversight visit in Riverlea, Kliptown and Eldorado Park as part of an ongoing property audit drive to ensure that use of the City's property followed not only legal processes but also benefited the residents.

Knott and Council Speaker Vasco da Gama consulted with various stakeholders including business owners and residents in a bid to find solutions to enable communities to run businesses in a conducive environment.

Knott said the shops will be released on public tender to ensure that all community members are granted a fair opportunity in line with the Joburg Mayor's goal of building an inclusive society through a pro-poor approach to governance. 

Notices will be issued to current tenants to vacate the properties well in advance. A public consultation process will be undertaken and will be communicated through the local Ward Councillor.

African News Agency/ANA