MEC Lebogang Maile visited the office of a Mamelodi councillor that was burnt by people protesting against their eviction from flats they had occupied illegally. Bongani Shilubane African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - The eviction of people who illegally occupy land and houses will continue, Human Settlements and Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Lebogang Maile has said.

“We will not be intimidated or blackmailed. We will deal with those who occupy land and houses illegally. There is no justification for their behaviour.”

He was speaking following the torching of a councillor’s office in Mamelodi at the weekend, allegedly by a mob angered by a court decision to evict them from flats in Extension 15, which they had occupied illegally

According to Louis Mashigo, a councillor in the ward, there were rumours that the office was targeted by an angry mob.

“They went to court and lost, and they became angry and began to vandalise and set fires.

“Residents are worried. We cannot allow such things to happen.”

Following assessing the damage, Maile condemned the incident.

“We want to condemn this act of criminality committed by faceless cowards, and we want the police to arrest the people responsible.

“There is no excuse, no matter the reasons they have," he said.

He said it was not the first time councillors had been attacked, not only in Mamelodi, but around Tshwane as well.

“We want to work with Tshwane and authorities to make sure councillors and public representatives are protected and safe in their respective communities.

“It cannot be that those elected by the community do not feel safe where they live and are not protected and we want to urge the community to work with councillors and bring any info at their disposal to law enforcement agencies.”

He said they would also look at the safety of public representatives following the incident, and see what could be done to improve safety.

In the meantime, some people have moved back and more flats have been invaded.

While no arrests have been made, police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said they were investigating a case of malicious damage to property.

Pretoria News