Angie Nyatyoba of an Orange Grove community group says she won’t go after illegally occupying a house. Anna Cox
Orange Grove belongs to us black people and not the racists who live here.

These are the words of Angie Nyatyoba, who in 2018 admitted to The Star she occupied one of 26 houses in the area which belong to the Joburg Property Company (JPC).

Nyatyoba was reacting to claims by the City of Joburg last week that there had been further attempts by Alexandra community to occupy more houses in 13th Street.

Nyatyoba said no such thing had happened, and that this was white people in the area spreading lies.

“They accuse us South Africans of occupying houses which rightfully belong to us. Yet, they say nothing about other foreigners who occupy and trash properties in the area,” she said.

Regarding her situation, Nyatyoba said she was still occupying her house and had not received an eviction notice.

“We have been trying to engage with the City with no luck. Neither the mayor, Herman Mashaba, nor the member of mayoral committee, Leah Knott, have made any attempt to come and listen to us, the community. These white DA people are not going to run us out of Orange Grove - we belong in this country.”

Ward councillor Eleanor Huggett said she condemned, in the strongest terms, “any person or group that went to her ward, and tried to take the law into their own hands, in a deliberate attempt to infringe on the rights of our residents, especially legal tenants and property owners”.

She said that on August 3 she was informed a group of people, allegedly from Alexandra, were attempting to evict people from a property owned by JPC in 13th Street, Orange Grove.

“I communicated this information to the Joburg metro police department and SAPS. They went to defuse the situation, and the group left. I was later informed that the group was planning to return the following day to continue with their illegal eviction.

“I then called law enforcement to intervene, which they did. They immediately deployed vehicles to the scene and handled the situation.”

The issue of the JPC houses in Orange Grove is a historical issue which is currently under investigation and being closely monitored by the relevant authorities.

“I want to emphasise that under no circumstances can any member of any group take the law into their own hands by attempting to evict people from houses or by occupying them. People have the right to protest, but this must be within the confines of the law and without infringing on the rights of other residents.

“I would like to appeal to our residents of ward 73 for calm and patience as this issue regarding the hijacking of JPC properties is still under investigation,” she added.

The houses, belonging to the JPC, were purchased in 2014 for redevelopment of land close to the new Rae Vaya, but many had been left vacant.

A dissident group was formed and invaded the houses, forcing the occupants, mainly foreign nationals, out, even though some had leases with the JPC in place.