Kenny Kunene will oversee evictions in hijacked buildings as part of his duties as the Acting Mayor of Johannesburg while Kabelo Gwamanda is away. Kunene, Johannesburg’s transport MM, focuses on the issue of hijacked buildings in the city. On Sunday, he joined the MMCs of public safety and human settlements when they visited the reportedly illegally occupied Casa Mia building in Berea, as reported by TimesLIVE.
Kunene actively engaged with the residents, emphasising the importance of paying rent only to the authorised entity, the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco). He firmly stated that other payment arrangements were illegal and urged community members not to protect the hijackers.
“I want to finish this thing of syndicates who are collecting rentals. You don’t want to tell us who you pay your rent [to]. No one owns a room here. These belong to Joshco, but these satans take money from you, and you don’t tell us who they are so we can arrest them,” expressed Kunene passionately.
Recognising the situation’s urgency, Kunene highlighted that the authorities had no choice but to take action. He further announced plans for Monday, stating, “[On Monday] at 2 pm, we will return with the health and social development department. The unemployed and those with children will be given temporary shelter.”
In an interview with Newzroom Afrika on Monday morning, Kunene emphasised his focus on resolving the issue of hijacked buildings. He expressed deep concern regarding the deteriorating state of these buildings, some of which had turned into dumpsites. Additionally, emergency workers deemed many of them uninhabitable and unsafe. Kunene also noted that these buildings had become crime hotspots, with neighbouring residents falling victim to robberies as perpetrators sought refuge inside the hijacked structures.
“We have to act and make sure the safety of the people comes first. The city also suffers a loss of revenue because of hijacked buildings,” emphasised Kunene, highlighting the multifaceted impact of this problem.
With Acting Mayor Kenny Kunene at the helm, the City of Johannesburg is determined to tackle the hijacked buildings head-on, ensuring the safety and well-being of its residents while reclaiming these spaces from those who have unlawfully occupied them.