A 2007 Constitutional Court ruling said Johannesburg city government must engage meaningfully with civil society instead of undertaking wide-scale evictions. But since he came to office, Mashaba has not met once with inner city residents, community based organisations, and NGOs to find a way forward. Under previous city governments, civil society attended Johannesburg Inner City Partnerships meetings. But now, when we attend these meetings, we have no a voice. Instead, Mashaba says he will engage civil society at another unspecified date, and says that the meetings are only for investors, building owners, and government. Mashaba happily met with inner city residents when he was running his election campaign, but now that he is in office, those promises have come to nothing.
Mashaba has been evicting people from inner city buildings without listening to civil society. When the evictees lose their homes, they have nowhere to go and end up on the streets or in the inner city’s growing squatter camps (e.g. in Booysens). While the city is duty-bound to provide alternative accommodation, most evictees at most get a tent or container (e.g. Wembley stadium). Mashaba seems to have no plan for moving people out of tents.
Since he came to office, Mayor Mashaba has also been cutting off water and electricity in many inner city buildings. Residents who have paid their landlords lose out on services because their landlords do not pay or are nowhere to be found. Nevertheless, inner city dwellers have a Constitutional Right to a minimum basic level of services. When water and electricity are cut off, buildings turn into slums because people cannot clean the buildings with no water. Crime also increases in the buildings because they are dark and criminals can lurk there. Mashaba needs to meet with inner city residents to find service delivery solutions.
Instead of coming up with a reasonable housing plan for the inner city, he insists investors and building owners will address the needs of the poor. But we know from previous plans that the proposed social housing is too expensive for most inner city residents – coming in at R2,500-R3,500 a month. Furthermore, the housing plan only provides 20% of places to the poor. It is unclear what will happen to the inner city’s other 80% of poor residents.
In light of these problems, the Inner City Resource Centre, Hlalakahle community organisation and One Voice for All Hawkers Association are holding a march on 14 November 2018 to demand meaningful engagement, adequate service-provision, and a decent plan to create affordable inner city housing.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: SHEREZA SIBANDA, INNER CITY RESOURCE CENTRE, TEL: 011 492 1046 or CELL: 0731884999