Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) removed illegal land occupants in Ivory Park today, 8 July 2020.

The vacant land in Ivory Park, opposite Imbizo Shisanyama (Busy Corner) was targeted by land invaders last week on the 28th of June 2020. A number of structures were already built by squatters during the course of last week.

Officials from the JMPD were deployed in the area today to remove the structures and disperse the crowd.

JMPD fired rubber bullets at the crowd who were burning tyres and removed traffic lights on the corners of Main Road and Acasia Street. Rocks were also used to barricade the roads by the protesting crowd.

One of the land grabbers who spoke to KAE News on condition of anonymity said “where does this government expect us and our children to stay? There’s no housing in the area so that’s why we occupying this vacant land. Instead of providing us with decent housing this government shoots us”. [sic]

The JMPD warns law offenders that harsh actions will be taken against them. The City of Johannesburg is concerned by the growing incidence of illegal land occupation happening across the metro, especially during the lockdown period.

Speaking for JMPD, Wayne Minnaar said these incidents have increased apparently because of the lockdown regulations.

“Some individuals have taken advantage of the declaration that there would be no evictions during lockdown. This then encourages people to grab and inhabit land unlawfully. These unlawful acts are apparently gaining popularity with the relaxation of the lockdown regulations,” he said.

“We have noticed a growing and worrying trend of impostors selling land that does not belong to them for a price ranging from R1 000 to R3 500. This criminal behaviour from both those who are illegally selling and those buying land is unacceptable.”

Minaar said that some of the space being occupied has been kept for future developments. KAE News understands that the occupied land is owned by the City of Johannesburg Municipality.

The Gauteng MEC of Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, earlier said “as the Gauteng Government we are appealing to those behind these land grabs to stop. Illegal land grabs are acts of criminality.”

JMPD has vowed to arrest illegal land invaders and confiscate the material used to erect structures. The area remains volatile while authorities are monitoring the situation.

UPDATE: Eskom has withdrawn technicians this evening, 8 July 2020. Eskom is not able to access Ivory Park this evening for essential operations due to the violent protest underway. The power utility says this will result in an emergency outage to safeguard assets against overloading.

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