Lenasia housing fraud: Lay charges, say police

2012-11-09 21:02

Johannesburg - Lenasia residents whose houses were being demolished should lay charges if they had evidence of corruption, police said on Friday.

"If there are people who feel there are allegations of corruption or crime committed, [it] is for them to come... and lay charges," Warrant Officer Kay Makhubele said.

"As police we'll make sure that all those allegations are investigated, and if some of the people are found involved in that corruption... what we are going to do is to arrest them."

On Friday, the housing department in Gauteng demolished 14 houses in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg. Thirty-seven were destroyed on Thursday.

The department said it had identified 113 houses in the area which it said were illegally built on land intended for government houses.

Spokesperson Motsamai Motlhaolwa said: "We are done for today [Friday] we would let you [media] know when we go back again. We will have to make arrangements with police first.

"Investigations by the department's anti-fraud and corruption unit revealed that fraudsters sold several stands [for amounts] ranging from R2 500 to R95 000, and issued buyers with fraudulent deeds of sale which bore the department's official logo."

Neighbours expressed anger over the evictions.

"Why can't the government give these people monetary penalties if they build illegally on the government land?" said Patricia Mangena.

Earlier, police had to drag a woman holding her child screaming out of her house, after it had been identified as one built illegally and therefore earmarked to be demolished.

At another house, bulldozers broke the wall of the yard in the owner's absence.

When she arrived, she shouted: "Who broke my wall? They are going to [re]build it, by fire, by force."

She continued: "I have documents for this house. I stayed here for more than 10 years. This house was on auction."

Other residents shouted: "This woman has a document for this house. This house is not part of corruption."

In response, Motlhaolwa said: "They know nothing."

Con artists

As police and bulldozers moved through the area, some residents said their houses were on the list to be demolished, but said they were not given notice as the housing department claimed.

Motlhaolwa said they were given notices for a period of over a year.

"We [have] even given them a chance to demolish the houses built illegally themselves, so that they can even pack their bricks, their windows, and doors."

He said they should also remove their furniture.

"Then we will come with the Red Ants if that is not happening," he said, referring to a notorious eviction company whose employees wear red overalls.

Sam Mfupa, 34, whose house was also on the list, said so far he had spent about R250 000 to build his house.

"We can't be victims of con artists from the housing department. The government must arrest these people who sold us this land," he said.

Motlhaolwa said residents were told not to build houses on the land in 2006 and that a court order was obtained to stop them from building, but a syndicate had convinced them otherwise.

He said three members of the syndicate were arrested for fraud in 2009 and had since been jailed.

"They forged the [head of department's] signature and used [the] department's letterhead," he said.

However, residents said that number of people who were serving a jail term was not enough.

"There are many people involved here, government officials are the ones who sold us this land. They [government] must deal with their people, not us," said Mfupa.

No injuries have been reported.

  • SharonE - 2012-11-09 21:19

    This does not look good for government. Nkandla plus lavish upgrades to ministerial homes, yet they begrudge these people their shacks. It is so hard to see the pain of the people from up there on that self-imposed pedestal.

      arne.verhoef - 2012-11-09 21:51

      The Emperor's new clothes...

  • Malose-Nyatlo - 2012-11-09 21:23

    What can one say? The little ones will be the worst affected...

      keith.recore - 2012-11-10 00:43

      yes, Malose, so sad that so many seem to be disposable/uprooted from some stability finally, this makes no sense as reported!

  • punungwe - 2012-11-09 21:46

    In Zimbabwe we would call this operation Murambatsvina!!!

      hendrik.breed - 2012-11-09 22:50

      Where are you going to next for a "better life"?

      khehle - 2012-11-10 08:32

      Just for enlightment, what does Murambatsvina!!! mean?

  • nel.westhuizen - 2012-11-09 21:53

    Wow...the compassion amazes me... Yeah, lay long will this take? Government should have stepped in and assisted these people...oh no wait...they are busy getting their own houses upgraded. I really feel sorry for these people.

  • izak.furstenberg - 2012-11-09 22:21

    Moving photo. Feeling sad for these people. Can't imagine the night they must be having. Not fair at all.

  • hendrik.breed - 2012-11-09 22:41

    This is so wrong in so many ways. Surely it could have been resolved in a more acceptable way. But rules are rules. That is what is supposed to make us civilised. But you know what, keep on voting ANC. This is what you get for your loyalty.

  • philasande.macwili.1 - 2012-11-09 22:51

    This is criminal. How can you represent people and yet stab them at the back. The housing backlog is in quadruples of millions behind. There are people out there who wait for government to hand keys to houses only to sell them because they own 3 or 4 other RDP houses. These people bought land and built houses, which means minus a few from the backlog and cost. Instead of dealing with the criminals - human basic need has been taken away from people. Mind you, they worked hard for the money they used to build their houses, which means they will now be even more poor than before. There are many ways that could have been used to address and make an example of this matter and demolition the essential ready made product which is even better than what gov can offer to people is not one of them. What happened to the principles of Batho Pele?

      hendrik.breed - 2012-11-09 23:04

      MONEY happened to Batho Pele

  • ben.nevis.906 - 2012-11-09 23:06

    The R203 million + spent on Nkandla could have built how many formal homes? Somebody remind me please...

  • Kwajo.m - 2012-11-10 08:59

    I think this matter was not well handle by the so called housing department. Motlhaolwa must learn to talk. If someone has defrauded government letter head and HoD signature. How do you expect ordinary person to know this? I LOST HOPE IN THIS GOVERNMENT, THEY ARE USING KAGAROO APPROACH AGAINST THEIR OWN. why not put heavy penalty? I HAVE MOVE MY VOTE COME NEXT ELECTION. I better panic that a white government is running but I think their decisions would be of sound. The ANC is like a RAT which bite and blow cold air. What happen in Lenesia is not going down well. Where is the ANC youth league, Woman's league, COSATU, mayor, am very angry about this. Fu@&$ the ANC government. You are taking what we fought for. To hell with all involved. Am not voting this time around. Fucc them all.

      mcsquire - 2012-11-12 12:40

      you need to vote chap, not voting would be like saying its ok for this to happen to ordinary south africans, what you can do is not vote for the ruling party but vote you must, i implore you my friend united we stand divided we will always fall, where indeed was cosatu, the major and all the big wigs damn!!!!!!!

  • TawwaTienie - 2012-11-10 12:19

    Government land. Yes vote anc.

  • seventhheavenproperties - 2012-11-10 12:32

    Can this happen to me?

  • TawwaTienie - 2012-11-10 12:32

    How many FARMLAND belongs to governments.

  • marilyn.docherty.9 - 2012-11-10 14:22

    Where are the culprits who sold the land? They should be behind bars - or are they going to be suspended on full pay?????????????

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