Gauteng mayor, Herman Mashaba, has laid out his plans for addressing the issue of housing in Johannesburg.
As reported by Times Live, the mayor believes that there is a cheaper and more efficient solution to housing shortages than RDP development — expropriate abandoned buildings.
Drawing inspiration from a resolution that was passed by council in 2018 to make 84 abandoned, city-owned buildings available for low-cost living in inner-city Johannesburg, Mashaba stated that the same principle could be applied for other areas in desperate need of housing opportunities.
Where will Herman Mashaba expropriate these buildings?
According to the mayor, this is a decision that has garnered the support of the province’s multi-party government.
Many areas outside of Johannesburg are dealing with the rampant increase of informal structures due to the unavailability of land and the last thing they need, he said, are promises of new cities and bullet trains.
“Our residents cannot wait for dreams of new cities to materialise in the distant future, if at all,” Mashaba said.
He revealed that the City has identified, so far, a total of 37 abandoned buildings that tick all the boxes in the expropriation checklist. These include:
- Rabie Ridge
On what basis can these buildings be expropriated?
Most of these structures were once bustling factories. However, the owners of the respective properties have failed to make any attempts at maintaining their upkeep, making it possible for the government to step in and put them to use for a greater purpose.
“Arising from their large stand sizes, the yield of these properties will offer nearly 3 000 housing opportunities in multi-storey buildings,” Mashaba added.
In his statement, the mayor made assurances that the government would follow the appropriate legal processes in taking over ownership of the abandoned structures.
He revealed that the owners of the buildings are untraceable, and that “monies owing on these properties exceed their value.“
Once the matter has been passed by council and the expropriation is seen through, Mashaba noted that the buildings would be awarded to the deserving players in the private sector, whose mandate will be to convert these structures into multi-storey housing units.