Housing people in the inner city is a thorny issue. Though many people sympathise with landlords, whose valuable property is devalued by building hijackings, we must also sympathise with tenants who have nowhere to go and who pay exorbitant rents to people they think are in charge.
While the supreme court of appeal ruling might look like a good idea, it is like applying sticking plaster to a bullet wound. It is also not humane.
And, with winter approaching, how many people will die from exposure?
And what does this say of the mayor's poor handling of the issue by burying his head in the sand and hoping that the problem will go away?
We can learn from other cities that have made strides by providing both rental and homeownership options. The thinking is that a homeowner will be less likely to destroy his property and will also contribute to the city's coffers by paying for services.
Other cities make use of rent control, where rent increases are subject to strict controls and landlords cannot just evict people because they want to increase their rent. This also prevents slumlords from gaining a foothold in a hijacked building.
The city must remove its head from the sand and start working.
Councillor Ann BarnesJohannesburg Inner City