Trashed streets and illegal shacks still an issue in Alex


An Alex councillor blamed unrelenting squabbles over land, housing and service delivery by residents on the City Council of Joburg and the provincial government for lack of comprehensive and long-term plans.

The conflicts leave behind trashed streets, newly erected illegal shacks and also festering feuds between landowners and desperate home seekers who claim to still be on the housing waiting list for over 20 years. ANC councillor Moses Pandeka of Ward 76 attributed the authorities’ failure had slowed transformation, stalled housing infrastructure development and social cohesion.

Read: Illegal shacks reach new heights

He said the problems were mostly in townships where tension remains high due to council’s failure to enforce by-laws. “The DA-led City administration seems unable to take responsibility which allows residents to construct shacks illegally even on servitude and pavements forcing the law-abiding residents to risk their lives walking in narrow streets with vehicles.”

Pavements disappear in Alex. Photo: Leseho Manala

He added that without power, councillors were left desperate yet, are expected to ensure proper services are provided to residents. “Ironically, the illegal shack owners approach councillors with complaints about other shack dwellers blocking passageways hoping that we can resolve their illegal issues.”

Read: Illegal immigration must be addressed

Pandeka said some are now constructing brick structures with two stories without approved plans and connect them illegally to power lines. “When we ask for intervention, bylaw enforcers refuse to demolish the structures saying, they need a court order to do so.”

He is also worried of tension escalating to full-scale wars as desperate people compete to construct shacks illegally on any remaining empty space they find in the township while council continues to dither seemingly without a permanent solution. He said others now construct against school boundary walls under the pretext of making temporary shades for business which they will eventually convert to permanent homes. “Councillors fear criminals will use the structures as hideouts to raid and steal from classrooms.”

He is motivating for close monitoring of the situation by the police, school governing bodies and community police forums.

Details: Councillor Moses Pandeka 082 865 4647

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