The illegal shacks in Alexandra, at the corner of Grenville and Vincent Tshabalala roads, have been a cause for a lot of concern for residents in nearby suburbs, and they became an even bigger problem recently when property was destroyed and burnt on 15 January.
Lombardy East resident Themba Nafuya said, “I don’t even know where to start. People came into the area and occupied it, yet it does not belong to them.”
There were calls for the shacks to be demolished as they would affect property values in the area. The Johannesburg Development Agency then revealed plans to build proper housing for the shack dwellers, a decision which was influenced by Ward 81 councillor, Irene Rugheimer.
Another Lombardy East resident, Thato Mokwabane said, “Rugheimer is aware of this problem and even went to court about it. All these shack dwellers are staying there illegally and they need to be removed, but on 15 January these people destroyed a fence and the security house and set them alight. When police arrived, the men had already left. The municipal council is currently holding meetings to discuss this problem and we will be informed soon about how they are going to remove all these people.”
North Eastern Tribune contacted Rugheimer, who said, “This area was a problem in December last year when [new] people tried to build shacks on it and the City had to obtain a court order to have them removed. It appears it is the same people who came back to destroy the fence and security house.”