News24

Lenasia residents question timing

2012-11-19 14:10

Johannesburg - Residents of Lenasia South, where the Gauteng housing department continued demolishing houses on Monday, want to know why authorities took so long to act.

"The police, department officials, they drive right past here every day.Why are they demolishing houses now?" asked local resident Thabo Malekete.

The Gauteng housing department started breaking down houses in small clusters in the area on Monday morning.

The stands on which the houses are built were apparently fraudulently sold for amounts ranging from R2 500 to R95 000.

The buyers were given forged deeds of sale with the department's logo.

Overdue


Malekete, who runs his own business and is a father of two, said the matter of fraudulent title deeds should have been nipped in the bud ten years ago.

On 8 and 9 November, the department began demolishing houses, built on land intended for government housing.

Malekete said that when he bought his land, the process seemed legitimate and he was unaware of any wrongdoing.

"The man took my ID book and said he needed it to register with the housing department.

"He had maps and stand numbers, on the land were pipes for water and lines for electricity. It seemed to all be legal," he said.

Another resident, known only as Mondo, said: "I am not an invader, I bought this piece of land."

Confusion

Residents were confused as to why the demolitions were going ahead, in contravention of a court order.

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) approached the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg and obtained an interdict to halt the demolitions.

On Thursday last week, the matter was postponed until Friday.

"I was there in court and the judge said there could be no more demolitions until Friday, at least," a young man told reporters.

SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena said demolitions should not have gone ahead as this was "against the court order".

Blocking bulldozers


On Monday morning pupils from a local high school were levelling the land around one house with spades. "They came before their exams, to make [the ground level] so that we can park cars to block the bulldozer," one woman explained.

Residents could also not say why certain houses were demolished, while others in the same street only received notice that their houses would be knocked down in several weeks or months.

Across the road from several houses reduced to rubble, stands a home with established rose bushes and carefully tended hollyhocks.

At another site, men were collecting the corrugated iron from a house which had already been flattened.
Standing on the veranda of an unoccupied house marked for demolition, one resident threatened to protect his house "to the death".

Protecting houses

Chairperson of the Lenasia South concerned residents committee, Lazarus Baloyi, said people went into his partly built home in protest against an attempt to demolish his home on Monday morning.

Baloyi's house was one of the few still standing after some of the surrounding houses were flattened in the process.

"The people said they would rather die than allow them to demolish the house," Baloyi said.

He said his house was not on the list of houses scheduled to be knocked down.

"If they started putting in RDP houses then that would block people from moving into open land," Baloyi said.

The land was left undeveloped for many years and was not cordoned off to indicate it was municipal land.

Undeveloped land

"People have shown they are willing to buy the land," he said.

"This land has been here for more than 18 years and nothing has been done."

He said he had handed in building plans to the municipality but was told it was government land.

He nevertheless continued building on the land last year May.

The wrecking crews were supposed to return to Baloyi's house at noon, but by 13:20 had not arrived.

Members of the culturally diverse community thronged the street, watching for the bulldozers' arrival.

Comments
  • kala.bafazi - 2012-11-19 14:27

    The goverment first had to establish a tender with a contractor who offered reasonable kick backs. This delayed the demolishing of the houses by several years. The anc have never taken what the courts decide very seriously especially in respect of poor people. But there is hope for the people of Lenasia. Soon people will be visiting the area giving out free t-shirts and caps in the anc colours which they feel should adequately compensate you for your house.

      gatvol.bromponie - 2012-11-19 14:48

      Don't forget the kfc treatment too

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-11-19 14:47

    The answer to why this destruction of houses is taking place..........? An interesting one, but one which will be found in which company and which well known family is set to develop this land.... A small investigation will reveal such an answer...... and deliver the names of those who were destined to gain the lucrative land and development deal from the ANC elitist.

  • judith.taylor.56 - 2012-11-19 14:54

    Charges of malicious damage to property should be laid against the Province and the Housing Dept. as a matter of urgency. Also contempt of court given last week's rulings

  • negry.mabasa - 2012-11-19 15:03

    Who do we blame here?community or Government for failing to deal with corruption within their ranks?

  • pearlmotsumi - 2012-11-19 15:13

    There is Lady by the name Tebogo still selling RDP houses for R 25.000 but nothing has been done, people end up buying illegal houses because of this goverment.

  • rob.bayliss.94 - 2012-11-19 15:22

    Maybe we should also be asking for the names of the attornys who processed the lodging of transfer documentation?

  • michael.pitt.100 - 2012-11-19 16:00

    Are the houses illegal yes ? Knock them down if no leave them who ha the proof

  • Perfume5 - 2012-11-19 16:12

    We should be reading about the arrest of those who sold the illegal land to these residents!!!!!!! The homes of these people have been demolished whilst the fraudsters are sleeping in warms beds.

  • flynn.govender - 2012-11-19 16:25

    Yesterday Carte Blanche exposed the lady on tv and yet nothing is being done - same on these government officials

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