Residents of Lenasia South, where the Gauteng housing department continued demolishing houses today, want to know why authorities took so long to act. Residents say the police, department officials, they drive right past here everyday. The Gauteng housing department started breaking down houses in small clusters in the area yesterday morning. The stands on which the houses are built were apparently fraudulently sold for amounts ranging from R2500 to R95,000. The buyers were given forged deeds of sale with the department's logo. Lazarus Baloyi, chairperson of the Lenasia South Concerned Residents committee said that residents went into their houses yesterday to prevent the department of housing from demolishing their houses. He added that the department then stopped the demolition. The department’s anti corruption unit and police yesterday demolished 35 unoccupied and incomplete buildings in Lenasia south extension four. In turn, 30 people are now guarding their houses, are prepared to continue to guard their houses. Baloyi refuted some claims that they bought houses for R2500.00. He added the people were assured with title deed, which the housing department said are fraudulent, though it was approved in Bramfontien. Baloyi said that when houses were being demolished in Lenasia Ext 13, some houses were left standing. He claims that this was because housing department official colluded to leave those properties standing as the people that bought those properties would expose them in case their homes were demolished. He added the he does not if the housing department will come back to finish the job in Lenasia South as the minister did say that they want to demolish those houses.
The department’s Motsamai Motlhaolwa said that people were aware that land was being sold grossly under market value. He added that people admitted to them after the demolitions that they were informed that they must build their houses quickly so that the government cannot then break down their properties. He added that this is in itself proof that people who have something to hide will act in this manner. It comes after the Gauteng housing MEC Ntombi Mekgwe said yesterday that the demolition of houses on land intended for government housing in Lenasia south was part of the fight against corruption. She said in a statement that as a caring government, they have always maintained that their decision was correct, and that it was a fight against corruption and organised crime, which robs our poor people of the opportunity to own a home. Motlhaolwa added that they also said that if you don’t move in quickly, the government will take the land; hence he said that they go into these deals with their eyes open and they can’t now claim ignorance. He said that houses were being built with illegal connections for lights and water. He added that the water department can go into manholes as people have built their houses there illegally. Motlhaolwa said that when you demolish a house, you don’t look at the people that are staying there, so if the majority of the people staying on illegal land happen to be black, the department can’t help it. He said that they can’t try to find one Indian person and one White person and demolish their houses so it looks good in the newspapers. He said this is racists. He denies also being influenced by anyone. He said two houses that were demolished, belonged to Indians. However he pointed out that demolition will take place no matter who it was.
He said that he does not know much about the previous agreement with the previous MEC, but negotiations with the community in the past resolved nothing, as they continued to build despite the request from the department to them not to continue building. He added the corruption was getting wider, and this was partly due to collusion with people who thought that they would get away with it. He said the court order they have to evict is not being opposed by the Human Rights Council (HRC). However the HRC claims they are being inhumane. Motlhaolwa said the eviction of pregnant person cited by the HRC as inhumane was in fact not inhumane. He said the HRC has no case, as they are not being inhumane according to the court order. He added this is because people are deliberately running into their houses, like they did in Lenasia Ext 13, and like the pregnant person who was cited by the HRC also did when her house was being demolished. He said that according to the court order they are not obliged to provide alternative accommodation as this was land that was stolen. He added this was on the basis of the constitution. Motlhaolwa concluded, that those who believe that the HRC has a valid argument, they should approach the court and see if this argument holds water.