Los Angeles Times offers a take on the perils faced by squatters in what the newspaper refers to as Johannesburg's "Mad Max downtown." Sadly, though, the paper seems to look at developers who buy derelict squatter-occupied properties as potential white knights, capable of revitalizing the central city. Rather, they are seeking to profit from the opportunity to purchase big buildings at fire-sale prices. Though no family should have to live in a 5 X 10 foot room with no electricity and no water, this good family will simply get pushed to worse and more precarious accomodations if they are evicted.
One owner, who the newspaper identifies as Mark, told the reporter that "he'll do everything by the book, including getting a court eviction order, but he's not planning any meetings with tenants. "We don't encourage that," he says brusquely. "They are welcome to apply to move back in when it's renovated," he adds, although many will probably not be able to pay a deposit and higher rents. He believes there's a pile of money to be made from Johannesburg's low-cost housing shortage, if you're brave enough."Still, he's not brave enough to actually visit the building he bought. Instead, he had a black friend go there to take pictures.