Lenasia South residents have blocked the road, angry at their new neighbours accusing them of devaluing their bond properties by building shacks very close their houses. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - Johannesburg's executive mayor, Herman Mashaba, has called on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to intervene in violent protests related to illegal land occupations in Lenasia and surrounds.  

“Tensions in the area are escalating to the point where it is only a matter of time until someone is seriously hurt or killed," said Mashaba on Monday. 

He said that while he was "fully sympathetic" to those who had endured the legacy of landlessness and homelessness in the city, illegal land occupations and threatening the safety of people and property would not be accepted. 

“Residents within the area are reporting armed groups of land occupiers firing on the homes of residents in the affected areas, with the sounds of gunshots being heard throughout last night," said Mashaba. 

"The situation is such that the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, with its comparatively limited public order policing resources, cannot handle the situation alone and requires the full and most decisive intervention of the SAPS,” said Mashaba. 

On Friday, residents blocked roads leading into parts of Ennerdale, Zakariyya Park and Lenasia South as they protested against the occupation of land in the area. 

On Saturday, police had to fire rubber bullets to disperse land occupiers in Lenasia, while other residents marched calling for an end to land occupations. 

African News Agency (ANA)