27 November 2012

South Africa: Task Team to Resolve Lenasia Housing Issue

Photo: UN Photo/Eric Kanalstein
Demolished Homes (file photo): South Africa's govt promises to build low cost housing in Lenasia.

Johannesburg — Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has given a special task team a week to come up with a resolution to the housing issue in Lenasia.

Sexwale was addressing residents in a packed Lenasia South Hall in Extension 4 on Monday, after a visit to Extension 13 in Lenasia, where houses that were illegally erected on government land have been demolished.

He urged residents occupying the land to come forward and give the names of the people who sold them the land.

"... At the end of the day, this land belongs to the government and that must be clear. The land was given to people fraudulently without any authorisation from government.

"We must find those people who sold you the land and it is your job to reveal them," said Sexwale, adding that government was keen to bring closure on the matter.

He said no stone would be left unturned in rooting out the corrupt elements involved in the legal sale of land.

"It's a syndicate. Those who sold these houses operate inside and outside government; somebody has access to our offices and we as government have to find out who inside the government is responsible... we want to deal with these criminals," Sexwale warned, adding that stealing land would not be tolerated.

He announced that a special Lenasia Intervention Team had been established and would be meeting on Wednesday at the department's offices, where they will put options on the table on how to resolve the matter.

"By next week, the team should be done and report back on the resolution," he said.

The team comprises the SA Human Rights Commission, National Home Builders Registration Council, Housing Development Agency, representatives from the local and national Housing Department.

Sexwale said in trying to find a solution to the situation, government would not, however, promote a solution that encouraged criminality and lawlessness.

"As the government, we respect the court order to seize the demolition and you must do the same. No construction of houses must continue, but if you continue, then you are fighting with government," said Sexwale.

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