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Johannesburg - Action needs to be taken against government officials involved in the illegal sale of land in Lenasia, the Gauteng ANC said on Tuesday.
“In many instances, government officials are implicated (in the sale of land), and we want firm action against them,” African National Congress provincial secretary David Makhura told reporters in Johannesburg.
“The ANC calls on all municipalities and government departments to tighten measures to deal decisively with illegal land occupation or unlawful sale of land.”
He said houses were demolished in Lenasia because a previous agreement by residents not to build on the land had been “breached”.
“When they continue to build and when they put up a wall or a roof at night it means they do know (it is illegal).”
He said the ANC understood some residents had innocently purchased land believing the sale was legal.
“The victims need to come forward and expose the criminal syndicates, including government officials who are involved in crime and corruption so that they can face the full might of the law.”
The demolition of the houses began last Thursday. The housing department said the land the houses were built on was meant for government housing.
About 50 houses were initially destroyed and there were plans to knock down another 113.
The plots on which the houses were 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.
The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) took the issue to court and, on Monday last week, won and urgent application forcing the department to stop the demolitions for 24 hours.
That order was extended for a day on Tuesday, and on Thursday, lawyers for the local government and housing department told the court no houses would be demolished until court proceedings began on November 23.
However, on Monday, the Gauteng housing department started breaking down houses in small clusters in the area.
The housing department said the SAHRC's court application did not affect an existing court order granting it permission to demolish the houses. - Sapa