Mashaba calls for SAPS back-up, as Joburg metro cops battle to cope with Lenasia South clashes

2019-07-22 17:59
Fed-up residents blocked roads leading into parts of Ennerdale, Zakarriyya Park and Lenasia South in Johannesburg last week. (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)

Fed-up residents blocked roads leading into parts of Ennerdale, Zakarriyya Park and Lenasia South in Johannesburg last week. (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)

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Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has called on Gauteng police to urgently intervene in Lenasia South and surrounding areas, where there have been tense stand-offs in recent weeks between residents and people who have occupied vacant land around their homes.

Last week, residents blockaded roads in Lenasia South, Ennerdale and surrounding areas as they demonstrated against what they call "land invasions".

Community leaders said locals were fed up that government had failed to act against those occupying the land.

"Land invasions are massive here. We see people arriving here in big cars to invade government land," Ennerdale resident Nolan Jafta said last Friday.

On the same day, land occupiers hit back, saying they were not going to move.

MUST READ: We're going nowhere - Ennerdale, Lenasia South land occupiers

A number of land occupiers claimed that residents who wanted them out had fired live ammunition at them.

Police confirmed that they had received reports of shots being fired, and called on witnesses to provide more information.

Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers and SAPS officers were on the scene on Friday.

On Monday, Mashaba said "the situation is getting out of control".

"Residents within the area are reporting armed groups of land occupiers firing on the homes of residents in the affected areas, with the sounds of gun shots being heard throughout last night," said the mayor in a statement.

He said the JMPD could not deal with the situation on its own, "with its comparatively limited Public Order Policing resources".

"I have personally spoken to the Office of the Provincial Commissioner, General [Elias] Mawela, and have given the assurance of the full support of the City and the JMPD, while conveying the imperative that the SAPS take control of the situation with urgency.

"I am fully sympathetic to the plight of those who have endured the legacy of landlessness and homelessness in our City. However, illegal land occupation and threatening the safety of other people and their property cannot be acceptable," Mashab said.

Read more on:    saps  |  jmpd  |  herman mashaba  |  johannesburg  |  policing
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