The group said they would never vacate the houses until the government provided them with alternative housing. They have occupied 26 of the 52 incomplete houses.

The invasion at Lehae Phase 2 began on Friday and residents were not deterred by government threats to kick them out of the properties.

Community leader Alice Khoarai said nothing would move her out of the house she occupied.

The houses have no electricity or taps and the roofs have no ceilings. Occupants are using bedroom doors as front doors after Joburg metro police officers took them away on Sunday.

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There are no keys to lock the doors and inhabitants rely on each other for protection at night and during the day.

“We are not going anywhere. We don’t know to whom these houses belong, because when we enquire, we are told they belong to the City (of Joburg). Others say they belong to the province and some say they are still in the hands of the contractors. We are not going anywhere. We are staying in those houses,” Khoarai said.

Residents claimed the houses have been unoccupied for three years while they have been on the housing waiting list for years.

Nkele Mabena arrived in the area and rented an RDP house since 2013.

“I am unemployed and can’t afford to pay rent. We have sent many memorandums to various government departments enquiring about these houses. At some stages, we erected shacks and those shacks were later demolished and remnants thereof were taken away by metro officers.”

Mabena said they have not received any feedback to their demands and last week they decided to occupy the properties.

Khombisile Ndlovu lives with her 14-month-old baby, while her 16-year-old son lives with her friend.

Her house also lacks proper amenities. She flushes her toilet with a bucket of water she fetches from leaking pipes on her street.

“I am desperate for a house. I am unemployed and can’t afford rent. I am here to stay forever.”

Ndlovu said they were informed last week that “outsiders” were on the list to occupy the houses and that they decided that outsiders would occupy the houses before them.

Residents claimed that there were more than 100 RDP foundation slabs that were vacant and suggested that the government should build houses on those foundations for “outsiders” instead.

Ndlovu complained that the house was cold at night but she had to keep herself and her baby warm through the use of a paraffin stove. Her neighbour Steven Mabasa claimed they were promised houses in Lehae when they arrived in the area in 2012.

He said former councillor Dan Bovu promised them that more houses would be built in Lehae Phase 2.

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Elias Dubazana, another resident, cannot remember the last time he applied for an RDP house but claims that he has been on the list for years now.

Acting Executive Director in the City’s housing department Thabo Maisela confirmed the reinvasion by the group.

“We have opened a case of trespassing against them. We are awaiting the legal process that we undertook against those invaders. Ultimately, we are going to remove them. There are right processes that should be followed before one can occupy an RDP house.

“We want them to vacate those buildings. If we are going to leave them, then we will be setting a wrong precedent that anyone can just occupy an RDP house without following relevant procedures,” he said.

– News24 Wire