Illegal mining forces some residents to sell their homes

The activities in the area have forced some residents to sell their homes.

Moses Singh, who has been living in the area for less than three years, sold his house some weeks ago, saying he no longer felt safe.

The area in the west of Joburg has been plagued by illegal mining leading to gun violence sparking safety concerns.

Singh, who placed his house on the market two months ago, said he was lucky to have sold the house as fast as he did, as the area was fast becoming unpopular.

“We hear gunshots every day, just last week Friday while my wife and I were asleep, we heard gunshots, it sounded like a war zone. I felt that my family’s safety was at stake as I am not always there to protect them. I had installed cameras and extended my boundary walls, but it was really getting out of control.”

“All the activities that are happening here are making us nervous. We see these zama-zamas, who are easy to identify. They look muddy or dusty, they wear head lights and blankets. And they are armed, so you can’t say or do anything.”

He said while he was glad he managed to sell his house, he was not pleased with selling it for about R500,000 less.

“The value of our homes have gone down, but I am just glad that I will no longer be here to witness all of that.”

Leandra van Wyk of Leandra Estate Agency said the area had become less attractive to buyers with the sale of houses showing a decline in the past two years.

“It’s not just about the illegal mining in the area, people have safety concerns. There is a lot of crime and this rattles potential buyers.

“The area used to be popular and attracted a lot of people especially their specious apartments. That is no longer the case. To convince people to buy in the area homeowners have to reduce their prices, which is the only way to attract buyers.

“This then means the homeowners aren’t making any money on a property they may have developed over the years.”

Ronell Fasser, an agent at Chas Everitt, said while the area had not experienced a surge in people selling their homes, the obvious illegal mining activity had the potential of chasing people away in the near future.

Expressing a different view, Fasser said: “If the effect of these activities are not yet felt, they might be in the future. 

“As it stands not many people are selling their homes in the area. The few that are being sold do sell. The reasons people would not be satisfied with the price is because of the economy.  

“People are unable to afford because of the current economic situation and so prices have to be dropped. The cost of living is high, interest rates have also gone up.”

She said that while the CPF and other security groups were doing their best to deal with crime, government needs to take a hard stance against illegal mining as it could pose a threat to the market value of the houses.

Author: editor

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