Johannesburg - The African National Congress is behind land invasions that have been reported in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, in the last few weeks, according to the city's Mayor Herman Mashaba.
"We have information that the ANC is behind the invasions. It's trying to destabilise the coalition we have here," he told journalists at a media briefing held at his offices on Friday morning.
Mashaba urged community members in the region not to allow themselves to be used in a matter that he claimed was political.
"This is not only unlawful but more worrying is the blatant abuse of vulnerable members of our communities to achieve political ends," Mashaba explained, claiming that the development was both unacceptable and would not be tolerated.
Apart from the Orange Farm land invasions, police and the city have had their hands full fighting invasion attempts across parts of the city, including Tshepisong, Lenasia South and Marlboro. Clashes between law enforcement and residents turned violent in Orange Farm.
Credible housing waiting list
Mashaba has asked community members to remain patient, saying he remained committed to them and providing a wide range of well-located, good quality, adequately serviced, safe and affordable accommodation.
The city has made completing an official and credible housing waiting list and getting it signed off by its mayor one of its top priorities. The list is expected be out in 90 days.
"We acknowledge there have been people on the list since 1995 or 1996 and still have no access to proper housing; this has been made worse by a lack of transparency by the previous administration which has resulted in suspicions of corruption."
Mashaba said there were also plans to fast track the handover of title deeds to residents in the city.
"We acknowledge that title deeds would enable residents to access bank loans, giving them access to the economy and therefore empowering residents with an important tool to uplift themselves out of poverty," he said.
The ANC in the Greater Joburg Region supports the call made by the MEC of cooperative governance, traditional affairs and human settlement, Paul Mashatile for law enforcement agencies to clamp down on land invasions and vandalism of properties.
The political party, in a statement also addressed claims made by Mashaba that it was behind the illegal invasions.
“We have equally noted the opportunistic and rather unfortunate stance taken by the DA in both Tshwane and Johannesburg to accuse the ANC of being behind the illegal actions,” it said.
The ANC has also asked that person irrespective of their political affiliation who mobilises communities to illegally occupy land and or vandalise property should face the full might of the law and should be harshly dealt with.