Demolition of Lenasia homes 'disappointing'

2012-11-12 12:08
Police whisk away a Lenasia woman whose house was demolished. (Herman Verwey, City Press)

Police whisk away a Lenasia woman whose house was demolished. (Herman Verwey, City Press)

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Application to stop Lenasia demolitions

2012-11-12 09:40

The Human Rights Commission is launching an urgent court application to try and stop the demolition of illegal homes in Lenasia. Watch.WATCH

Johannesburg - Over 100 houses illegally erected on land owned by the City of Johannesburg will continue to be demolished in Lenasia, the provincial local government and housing department said on Monday.

"We were vindicated by the High Court last week Friday when an urgent application by the residents and those occupying that land was dismissed, as the court agreed we were acting well within our rights by demolishing those houses," head of the department Mongezi Myani said.

The department would work with the police and Johannesburg metro police to ensure the demolitions went ahead with no disruptions. Officials tearing the houses down had not been intimidated, but safety was a priority.

Lenasia residents barricaded roads and burnt tyres last week. Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said there were no signs of protest action on Monday.

Last week the department destroyed about 50 houses. Another 113 houses were yet to be demolished. They had been illegally built on land intended for government houses. The department said fraudsters had sold plots for between R2 500 and R95 000. Buyers were apparently issued with fraudulent deeds of sale which had the department's logo.

Various groups including the SA Human Rights Commission and Congress of SA Trade Unions had criticised the demolitions. Some home owners claimed they had been living on the properties for over 10 years.

Disappointment

The Ecological Movement of SA also expressed disappointment at the demolitions.

Spokesperson Teboho Mashota said: "How can the Gauteng government claim to be sending a strong message by demolishing houses?

"Instead, they should be finding ways of ensuring that those who are already there pay services and other necessary fees."

Mashota said the illegal sales were immaterial as families were acting within their constitutional rights.

"Ordinary working class families went out of their way to find means of making a reality of providing shelter to their loved ones, given our right as enshrined in our so-called progressive Constitution, the right to access to housing and the right to property," she said.

The Ecological Movement of SA champions human rights and climate change issues. It was formed by former members of the Anti-Privatisation Forum.


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