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Johannesburg - The demolishing of houses illegally erected on land owned by the City of Johannesburg cannot be justified in a humane society, the ANC Woman's League said on Monday.
“(We) believe, despite the legal processes undertaken, a more humane solution needs to be found to deal with the situation,” spokeswoman Troy Martens said.
The women of the African National Congress said reducing people's homes to rubble and leaving them homeless was cruel, even though the Gauteng government said all legal processes had been followed.
Last Thursday and Friday, the local government and housing department tore down about 50 houses in Lenasia. The owners of the houses that were destroyed had bought the land from swindlers who gave buyers fraudulent deeds of sale.
The department said it had warned people not to purchase or build on the land, but these warnings were apparently ignored.
Earlier on Monday, the SA Human Rights Commission secured an urgent application to have the demolitions halted.
The High Court in Johannesburg instructed the department to halt further demolitions for at least 24 hours.
Martens said the league would meet with representatives from the SAHRC and support them in preventing further demolitions.
The Inkatha Freedom Party in Gauteng condemned the actions of the department and called on the Hawks to investigate.
“We do not condone the invasion of land, we however remain opposed to it, and we are calling on the authorities to act swiftly against land invaders,” IFP caucus leader Bonginkosi Dhlamini said in a statement.
The party said the matter could be resolved without having to demolish all the houses.
The Ecological Movement of SA said the illegal sale of the land was immaterial as families were acting within their constitutional rights.
“How can the Gauteng government claim to be sending a strong message by demolishing houses? Instead, they should be finding ways of ensuring that those who are already there pay services and other necessary fees,” spokeswoman Teboho Mashota said.
On Monday morning, residents in Lenasia blocked the road leading into area with rocks and burning tyres.
The road was later re-opened and police were monitoring the situation. - Sapa