Ennerdale residents illegally erecting shacks on a piece of land. Credit: EWN.

While the authorities try to prevent Ennerdale residents from occupying land illegally, community members have told Eyewitness News government only has itself to blame for the years-long housing backlog.

Tensions are running high in the area, where groups of people have started erecting shacks on pieces of vacant land.

The Gauteng Human Settlements department has responded with threats to arrest those responsible.

This 60-year-old grandmother strikes the ground hard with a heavy pickaxe as she prepares to build a makeshift shack.

She stresses she’s no criminal and all she wants is to realise her dream of owning her own home.

“We’re willing to take the risk. Rather die because we’re tired of waiting.”

The woman is part of a group of people who’ve descended on Extension 9 in Ennerdale in droves to set up shacks on open land, defying government’s orders.

Simphiwe Jimta has also decided he and his girlfriend will settle and will fight those preventing them from doing so.

“We’re waiting for them, we’re not scared. We going to fight.”

In May, the Gauteng government promised to urgently deal with the housing backlogs in the south of Joburg.

Human Settlements MEC Uhuru Moiloa has cautioned against illegal occupation.