Bid to sort out Lenasia housing crisis

Johannesburg - Several key resolutions have been put forward by the specially formed Special Lenasia Intervention Team to sort out the housing crisis in the suburb.

The team was set up by Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, who told them to have proposals on his desk by Saturday.

The Human Settlements Department and SA Human Rights Commission have agreed to resolve issues around houses in Lenasia. File Photo: Timothy Bernard. Credit: THE STAR

He intervened last week after a series of protests by illegal residents complaining about the demolition of their homes, and later protests by those who are living legally in Lenasia Extension 13 and Lenasia South Extension 4.

The team is made up of representatives from the affected communities, officials from the provincial and national governments, the Human Rights Commission, the Hawks, the Special Investigating Unit and the Public Protector.

According to Sulliman Barends, of the Concerned Lenasia Residents’ Association, representing those who have built illegally, an acceptable solution has been reached.

In summary:

Sexwale had warned that the solutions tabled had to be lawful and work on a case-by-case basis, as no one size fitted all.

He also said the state had an obligation to protect citizens who suddenly found themselves with “illegal neighbours” who were fraudulently connecting electricity and water, thereby reducing the values of their homes.

“I stress that because, in this whole debate, legal residents are forgotten, and the government stands for and with them,” Sexwale said.

The minister also called on people to come forward and work with the government in identifying and reporting criminal elements involved in the illegal sale of government land.