‘Bashers’ quiet after building collapsed
IT IS good that a prominent daily such as The Star has displayed the City of Joburg’s onslaught, not only on slumlords but also on the dubious characters who have hijacked these buildings and turned them into, not just their illegal abodes, but also as dens of iniquity and cesspools of contraband.
The Star has provided invaluable information regarding some of the dark comings and goings in our cities.
The energetic executive mayor of Joburg, Herman Mashaba, has long warned about all sorts of illegalities going on in the inner cities. But the usual suspects in the “human rights brigade” and other assorted rented official wailers descended on mayor Mashaba as if he had committed criminal misdeeds by denouncing these illegalities.
Mashaba had warned since taking office that for the City of Joburg to be a world-class African city, a lot of regeneration work would have to be done.
Vested interests were not happy with Mashaba’s stance.
Some sought the media to spew recriminations against Mashaba for being “xenophobic” and others denounced him for incitement of racial/ religious/ethnic/national origin hatred or bigotry when all that Mashaba was saying was that the “rule of law” must prevail, that democracy does not mean licentiousness.
The recriminations abruptly stopped, however, when Mashaba’s fears came to pass with the tragic deaths at the hijacked Cape York building.
It turned out that the owner of the building, an Ethiopian South African citizen, had allegedly for years, been seeking the eviction of tenants, who had, in effect, become squatters. This fellow did not spend his R9 million to purchase a building for it to be hijacked by interlopers, only to be converted into a squatter camp.
But neither the City of Joburg officials nor the human righters came to the aid of the owner. He pleaded in vain. It was only when Mashaba came on board that vestiges of movement became visible.
Mashaba’s officials raided the building several days before the tragedy occurred.
Strangely, the sentimental drool that emitted from the lips of the Mashaba bashers were nowhere to be seen when the occupiers of the Cape York building died so tragically.
Did these bashers come forward to offer the remaining survivors accommodation at their homes or premises to protect the “human rights of these unfortunates”? Of course not. Or to volunteer financial support for the funerals? I doubt it.
Mayor Mashaba’s concerns were more prescient than those of the mayor of London whose Grenfell Tower building burned down and an unknown number of residents perished. It turned out that the Grenfell Towers building had virtually no credible fire extinguishers. And both the London and Joburg buildings had an unknown number of immigrants.
But with almost a hundred buildings to inspect and perhaps reclaim and rehabilitate, Mashaba still has a massive responsibility on his hands.
Fortunately, Mashaba is a genuine executive mayor unlike some nominal executives who populate many of our municipalities but in reality are simply highly paid ceremonial mayors. Centurion
WRITE TO US
NO HOME: A metro police officer requests an ID from a woman who said she did not have one and was here illegally. Flats were inspected and illegal immigrants arrested.