In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
Langelihle Chagwe and Kingdom Mabuza
Several families, among them a paraplegic woman and her two children, were trapped in a flooded building in Johannesburg yesterday.
The tenants of the building have been staying there illegally for more than four years.
They say the owner of the building brought along a group of people last week to sever water pipes to force them to leave.
"They came late at night and they told some of us that because we did not want to vacate the building, they will leave us without water," said Nontomza Majoka.
Water was still flowing from the multistorey building opposite the Local Government offices on Commissioner Street yesterday.
An estimated (though unconfirmed) 100 families have spent four days in the open since Thursday after claiming they were evicted by police.
Johannesburg Central police station confirmed that 26 people had been arrested on Thursday.
A spokesman said the people would be charged with malicious damage to property, but denied evicting residents.
Jabu Nzima alleged police evicted them from the Avril Building.
"No eviction notice was served on us and we were left in the cold without a place to sleep."
Nzima, a father of four, said he and the other occupants had spent the nights on the pavement as they did not have anywhere to go.
Nzima said they did not know the owner of the derelict building and were not paying rent.
City of Johannesburg spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane told Sowetan to "do your research and find the owner".
However, a municipal official, who declined to be named, said the council was required by law to give occupants prior notice of eviction from its property and provide alternative accommodation.
Inner City Tenants Association member Mashudu Muleya said police were not supposed to evict people.
"It is the responsibility of the owner to hire a private security company to evict people," he said.