Mayor Herman Mashaba plans to open up Johannesburg’s hijacked buildings to private developers and will expropriate property if necessary. Johannesburg has hundreds of "hijacked" buildings that have been taken over by residents or abandoned by owners. Mashaba said that as part of developing the inner city and providing affordable housing to city residents, more than 70 of these buildings had been identified for development. The DA-led coalition government passed a R55.9bn. budget on Thursday last week. Mashaba said in an interview with Business Day he would announce his plans for the buildings in the next two months. The project would be driven from the mayor’s office and the plan was to provide long-term rentals. If he did not take over the inner city and provide affordable housing, he would be unable to reduce the 300,000 housing backlog in the country’s economic hub, Mashaba said. With an R8.6bn capital expenditure budget, Johannesburg lacks the ability to develop enough housing a...

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