17 September 2018

South Africa: Inner-City Residents Challenge Mashaba's 'Unlawful' Building Raids


The August family in their home at one of the properties that has been raided by the police in an ongoing operation led by the City of Johannesburg targeting unsafe and hijacked buildings. (Greg Nicolson)

Dozens of Johannesburg inner-city buildings have been raided by police, led by Mayor Herman Mashaba's administration. Residents feel harassed and abused. Their lawyers say the City is trying to bypass the law to evict them - Mashaba says the raids are vital for development.

The August family live in a small room in Industry House, Doornfontein. Each night, six adults and three children under the age of six fill the room's only bed and spread out to sleep on the floor. Clothes hang from walls made of discarded chipboard. A TV sits next to the family's plastic kitchenware.

In May, police raided the building for the fifth time in a year. Officers ordered the family outside, refusing to let the women change out of their nightgowns before they went into the cold night. The August children, aged one, three and five, clutched their mothers.

"We were ordered out in our panties and the children were very terrified," said 27-year-old Constance August, as the children played...

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