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Who is to blame for building hijackings, remains unanswered

Recently, the housing agency appointed to handle such matters on behalf of the City, Johannesburg Social Housing Company (JOSHCO) devised a plan to large contingent of the press on what measures and improvements have been made to date.

JOSHCO’s mandate is to acquire, transform and then manages buildings that provide affordable, quality accommodation within the inner city and in other parts of the city by purchasing previously hijacked buildings.

Some on the verge of collapsing, rotten the core and some harbouring criminals, as was evident when we did the tour of buildings which Joshco has upgraded as part of Inner City Programme to conscientious the public back to the City, a lot of work still needs to be done.

According to Joshco CEO Rory Gallocher, we’re sending the message to those with evil intentions that, this City will be re-claimed back from wrong elements.

“While much has been achieved in regenerating the inner city over the past few years and in providing affordable accommodation for thousands of inner city dwellers, there is still substantial potential for JOSHCO to transform other “bad” buildings in the inner city.

“Our major focus is on capital projects that respond to the residential needs of the city. We need to find a balance by providing a residential product that is affordable, is of good quality and has a high level of ongoing management,” said Gallocher.

Posed to him what measures would be put into effect to deal with “hijackers” he said, we’re finalising some stringent policies to deal with those bad elements.

“We cannot be overriden by those elements and get away with it. Enough is enough,” he emphasized.

Despite the insurmountable challenges the agency faces, they’ve made strides.

It currently offers around 7,500 accommodation units at 22 projects in the inner and outer regions of the city, providing accommodation for around 25,000 tenants. Its eventual goal is to reach around 15,000 accommodation units.

Thus far, manages no less than ten buildings such as La Rosabel (Hillbrow) – 50 communal units; Chelsea (Hillbrow) – 80 communal units; Casa Mia (Berea) – 179 units; MBV (Joubert Park) – 184 units; Raschers (Loveday Street) – 87 communal units; Linatex (Doornfontein) – 160 emergency accommodation units; BG Alexander (Hillbrow) – 400 units; and Europa House (Hillbrow) – 168 units.

The organisation is also converting a hostel in Selby which will provide about 400 accommodation units and is working on a housing project in City Deep, on the fringes of the inner city.

Most of the buildings rental ranges from R2500 to R3500 per month.

Next month, according to Gallocher, JOSHCO will unveil the new-look AA House which has been totally revamped in Wanderers Street at a cost of around R40 million.

Speaking to residents, most of them were happy with what the City is trying to achieve but complained about the slow pace it was rolling out.

“The COJ and Joshco are trying very hard to make everything right but it takes too long. If they can deal with these eye-sore buildings we will have a better and secured environment, “says one mama in iSizulu, who flatly refused to give out her name for fear of reprisal.

How, when and where would buildings be legally operated in Jozi is a multimillion dollar question?

Is the residential re-generation model really a solution?

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