Makhubo blames Mashaba for land invasions in Joburg, says he allowed it during his tenure to please EFF
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Johannesburg - Anarchy reigned in the City of Joburg when former mayor Herman Mashaba allowed illegal land invasions to please his fragile political coalition at the expense of the city’s residents.
These were the fiery allegations made on Monday by Joburg mayor Geoff Makhubo, who accused his predecessor, Mashaba, of having fostered “anarchy” with the mushrooming of almost 60 “invaded” informal settlements during Mashaba’s three-year tenure as the city’s political head.
Makhubo made these assertions during the Gauteng government’s “fight against land invasion” launch in Lenasia, where the mayor told The Star that criminal syndicates had thrived during the 115 days of lockdown, which prohibited the eviction of people.
Makhubo alleged that these syndicates, which he said took advantage of the lockdown eviction moratorium to invade government and private land, had flourished because Mashaba had turned a blind eye to the illegal occupations.
“Mashaba looked away when these (invasions) were happening in the south - yes, he did, because his currency to stay in power was to please the EFF. And in pleasing the EFF, it was to allow things like this,” Makhubo said.
Mashaba governed Joburg in a coalition administration after securing 103 of the 270 council seats, where the EFF, which was not in the coalition, supported the former mayor from 2016 until December last year with its 30 seats.
The ANC, which currently also governs in a coalition without the EFF’s support, has 121 seats.
Makhubo said that between 2016 and Mashaba’s ousting in December, the number of informal settlements had grown from 160 to almost 220, which had affected the services of ratepayers in areas surrounding the alleged invasions.
“The whole of Lenasia is surrounded by informal settlements and communities are coming to us and saying, ‘We’re paying rates, but what is happening around us is not good.’
“And we support (these communities) because they pay rates and they followed the proper processes,” Makhubo said.
Mashaba, however, slammed Makhubo’s comments, saying it was the ANC’s ineptitude that allowed the growth of informal settlements across the city.
“The illegal occupation of land did not begin in 2016 when my government took over, and it did not end in 2019 when it departed. It is a complex problem arising from decades of the ANC’s unimaginative approach to addressing housing and land backlogs.
“To respond any further to the allegations of a mayor accused of benefiting R30 million from state capture-linked companies doing business with the city, while serving as the finance mayoral committee member, should not be necessary,” Mashaba said.
“I would suggest mayor Makhubo focus on improving the lives of Joburg’s residents because he has been spectacularly underwhelming in his role since he took over,” said Mashaba.
Meanwhile, Gauteng’s Human Settlements and Co-operative Governance MEC, Lebogang Maile, said 7 000 trained patrollers would be working closely with law-enforcement agencies across Joburg to clamp down on land invasions.
Maile, who was flanked by his colleagues in the provincial government amid a protest from residents in a nearby informal settlement, said court orders obtained to evict land invaders would be executed after the lockdown.