Halt on Lenasia demolitions welcomed

2012-11-24 16:00
Demolitions in Lenasia. (Picture: Beeld)

Demolitions in Lenasia. (Picture: Beeld)

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Johannesburg - An order by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg that has again halted the demolition of houses in Lenasia, was welcomed by the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) on Saturday.

"Sanco is pleased that the court has ruled in favour of the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) by stopping any further demolition of houses by Gauteng government in greater Lenasia," said deputy president Lemias Mashile in a statement.

"This brings a relief to the poor and working class in Lenasia."

Mashile said poor people should not have their homes destroyed without being consulted, in spite of any wrongdoing on their part. On Friday, Judge Phineas Mojape allowed the Gauteng housing department and the SAHRC to try and reach an out-of-court agreement.

He granted an indefinite postponement for this to happen, which meant that demolitions of houses illegally built on government land would also stop for now. Mashile said the organisation would call for people whose homes were torn down to be compensated by the department.

"We will also persuade the Gauteng provincial department of housing to immediately transfer all [disputed] residential land to respective municipalities," he said.

"We will urge the law and enforcement agencies to pursue the corrupt state officials who assisted the conmen to defraud [the] state."

The department of local governance and housing tore down houses illegally built on land owned by government.

It said it warned residents not to build on the land, secured for government houses, but this warning was apparently ignored.

The department maintained it demolished the houses within the lines of the law.

The SAHRC took the department to court, calling for a halt to the demolitions so that it could investigate whether any human rights were being infringed on.

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