Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba wants to partner with private developers in the city to turn the city's hundreds of abandoned and hijacked buildings into affordable housing, Business Day reported on Thursday.
More than 70 of these buildings have reportedly been identified for development.
In an interview with Business Day, Mashaba said plans for the buildings would be announced in the next two months, and that the project intended to provide long-term rentals.
Mashaba reportedly said this was necessary to reduce the housing backlog in the city of 300,000. Business Day reported that Johannesburg cannot develop enough housing and infrastructure with its R8,6 billion capital expenditure budget.
Mashaba told Business Day: "It [the buildings] is infrastructure that is already in place. It is an opportunity for the private sector to turn it into construction sites. They just need the government that can play a role to give them access to ... these hijacked buildings."
He said that buildings would be expropriated if an owner owed the city money and could not be found.
Business Day reported that Johannesburg's housing top structures grant has been slashed by the Gauteng provincial government, leaving only enough money to build a thousand units in 2017/2018.
"I am not going to take this lying down. I will make sure that our residents are aware of this. If it means they can't listen and respond to us, we will take this matter to court," Mashaba reportedly said.