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Lenasia - Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale and SA Human Rights commissioner advocate Lawrence Mushwana have agreed to resolve temporary “glitches” around the Lenasia housing issue, they said on Friday.
In a joint statement the human settlements department and SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said Sexwale and Mushwana met on Thursday evening.
“This comes after the Human Rights Commission statement earlier today which gave an unfortunate impression that government is not committed and willing to consult with other parties,” the statement read.
“Minister Sexwale, advocate Mushwana and the Gauteng provincial government are satisfied that the process remains on track and nothing will derail it. As Minister Sexwale says, this is an 'All In' process.”
On Thursday, the SAHRC said the unilateral adoption of a plan for Lenasia by the human settlement and Gauteng housing departments was done without consultation.
Spokesman Isaac Mangena said that despite a meeting of concerned parties in Pretoria on November 28, the government's Lenasia intervention plan (LIP) had been adopted without anyone's consent.
The LIP was formulated and adopted at a meeting without involving other stakeholders serving on the Special Lenasia Intervention Team (SPLIT), Mangena said at the time.
SPLIT consists of officials of the human settlements department, the Gauteng housing department, the SAHRC, the Legal Resources Centre and Lenasia residents.
About three weeks ago, the Gauteng housing department demolished 50 houses in the area. The department said it was acting within the law because the houses were illegally built on government land.
Further demolitions were halted following a ruling by the High Court in Johannesburg.
The meeting on Tuesday “erroneously and unintentionally” left out stakeholders and would be corrected going forward, according to the joint statement.
“An official who was instructed to invite all parties neglected to do so and the minister instructed the director general to sharply call the official to order.
“All parties have to report back to the court on progress as this is still a court process. Both parties stated without equivocation that protection of human rights is not to be equated with criminal wrongs.”
They agreed that no agreement would be allowed that was unlawful and criminal syndicates were “not to expect to ride on the back of lawful agreements”. - Sapa