While no one who would be evicted from occupied land, those who tried to “invade” during the lockdown would face decisive action, Gauteng Human Settlements, Urban Planning and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Lebogang Maile said on Saturday.
Maile was reacting after the Red Ants demolished scores of shacks and houses in Lawley.
News24 reported on Thursday how many people were left homeless after watching their homes being destroyed.
The evictions happened under the watch of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, SAPS and SA National Defence Force members.
Maile was speaking to the SABC on Saturday after a number of shacks were burnt down at the Organic Market informal settlement in Alexandra.
About 20 families were displaced.
“No one is going to be evicted during the lockdown period. That must be stated categorically. However, there are criminal elements who are trying to invade land illegally,” he told the public broadcaster.
“As we speak now, that illegal activity is taking place. We can’t say, because it is a lockdown and we are dealing with Covid-19, we are going to allow people to do that.
“We want to urge the City to counter land invasion.”
Maile said he had spoken to Mayor Geoff Makhubo on Saturday.
He applauded ,the province and City of Johannesburg’s disaster management teams as well as NGOs which had assisted those who were displaced.
“I want to thank them for reacting promptly to the unfortunate incident that took place. We can confirm that no one was injured. We can confirm that all the affected families, about seven of them, had been given the necessary amenities they need, like food and mattresses.”
Maile said the City had already appointed a service provider to rebuild burnt shacks.
“We want to thank the City for acting decisively and quickly, because during this difficult time of Covid-19, we have to be agile as government and move with speed to ensure that whenever unfortunate incidents like these occur, we act decisively,” he said.