The City of Johannesburg Human Settlements has warned illegal landlords operating in informal settlements to stop demanding money for government services.
The warning comes after the department relocated over 300 families who were victims of shack fires in KwaMaiMai in June.
The families were temporarily sheltered at Hofland Park Community Centre until Friday, when they were relocated to Kaserne Informal Settlement.
During the relocation process, it was established that some of the new structures were locked by illegal landlords, who demanded payment from residents before they could occupy the new shacks.
Law enforcement was called in to break the locks and give residents access to the temporary homes.
Member of Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Human Settlements in the City, Mlungisi Mabaso emphasised that the services are provided free of charge to deserving residents.
“We cannot allow illegal activities in our communities. No one can demand payment for government services that are provided free of charge. We do not recognise these so-called landlords, in fact, they are criminals defrauding desperate residents,” Mabaso said.
Mabaso added that the issue of illegal landlords is prevalent in many informal settlements and other government properties.
“These illegal landlords cannot claim government property as their own. I urge community members to work with the department to report anyone who demands money for government services so that we can clamp down on this lawlessness and victimisation of vulnerable people,” the MMC said.
Fraudulent activities can be reported to Group Forensic and Investigation Service’s toll-free hotline: 0800 002 587 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org – SAnews.gov.za