SAHRC concerned by Lenasia plan

2012-12-06 22:11
(Picture: SAPA)

(Picture: SAPA)

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Johannesburg - The unilateral adoption of a plan for Lenasia by the human settlement and Gauteng housing departments was done without consultation, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Isaac Mangena said despite a meeting of concerned parties in Pretoria on 28 November, the government's Lenasia intervention plan (LIP) had been adopted without anyone's consent.

"The LIP has been developed with no consultation at any level with stakeholders, including the SAHRC," he said.

"In this sense, the process adopted despite the timelines imposed for resolution, disregards the order of the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, which the SAHRC is in fact the applicant."

About three weeks ago, the Gauteng housing department demolished 50 houses in the area.

The department said it was acting within the law because the houses were illegally built on government land.

Further demolitions were halted following a ruling by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

The SAHRC believed that for an amicable solution to be reached, consultation between the different parties was vital.

Having reviewed the LIP, which was released on Wednesday, the SAHRC said it was inaccurate on several fronts.

These included referring to an earlier court finding which was still on appeal, and misunderstanding the court order granted to SAHRC last month.

Mangena said the LIP sought the immediate disconnection of "illegal" electricity and water, before the process of identifying home owners had been completed.

"That the [government] have already moved to adopt this plan is indeed unfortunate, unacceptable, and effectively breaks the trust which was the basis of the envisaged mediated settlement," said Mangena.

The LIP was formulated and adopted at a meeting without involving other stakeholders serving on the Special Lenasia Intervention Team (SPLIT), said Mangena.

SPLIT consists of officials from the human settlements department, the Gauteng housing department, the SAHRC, the Legal Resources Centre and Lenasia residents.

Mangena called on Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale and his department to set up another meeting with SPLIT where the LIP could be discussed and a consultation framework established before any action was taken.

"We would also like to emphasise that the SAHRC reserves its right to resume litigation in this matter should its concerns not be addressed with urgency in the next 48 hours," said Mangena.

Comment from the Gauteng housing department and Sexwale's office could not immediately be obtained.

- SAPA
Read more on:    sahrc  |  tokyo sexwale  |  johannesburg  |  housing
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