It’s a slow process in Lenasia

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ST_lenz demolitions0

INLSA

AFFECTED: One of the home owners who had her wall demolished at Lenasia South ext 4. Picture: Matthews Baloyi

ANNA COX

anna.cox@inl.co.za

PROGRESS on a solution to the Lenasia housing crisis is slow, and could result in a deadlock because of the onerous demands being made by Lenasia residents who built their homes illegally.

However, none of the government spokespeople, nor the Lenasia South Extension 4 and 13 Concerned Residents’ Association, would admit this, all saying that the talks are well on track.

But insiders, who do not want to be named, say residents’ demands are too great and are not likely to be accepted by local, provincial or national government departments.

Residents are, amongst others, asking for a blanket amnesty applied to all people who have occupied stands and for these to be legalised. Over and above this, they are demanding that all illegal electricity and water connections be approved.

The association, in its submission to the Special Lenasia Intervention Team (Split) formed by Minister Tokyo Sexwale in November last year to resolved the matter, says most of the houses in the affected area have water meters and are using prepaid electricity.

“They are paying for the services even though they have been told that the connection of such electricity and water is illegal. They are prepared to continue paying for such services.

“In our view, it will be beneficial for both the municipality, and the residents, if the connections were legalised as the municipality will continue receiving revenue and the residents will have an undisturbed supply of services. The disconnection of electricity and water without an order of a competent court is illegal, and a court order will be obtained through a spoliation application,” said the residents in their submission to Split.

Inside sources say the City of Joburg is not prepared to do this and wants to disconnect all the services which were fraudulently and illegally connected.

Lenasia residents are also asking:

l That people who are already occupying the stands and houses and have built structures on them be afforded an opportunity to purchase them.

l That the rezoning of stands only applies to those stands that are currently not occupied at all.

l That people who are now homeless due to demolishing be provided with temporary shelter or emergency housing.

l That all people whose houses and walls have been demolished be compensated.

l That government must assist people, who are in the process of completing their structures to complete them.

l An amnesty must be applied to all people who have occupied or have built structures on the stands and they must be legalised.

l Government should assist in the completion of the structures that are incomplete, if a person qualifies for government assistance.

“We are prepared to work towards the realisation of a permanent solution and hope that our proposals will be taken into consideration.

“We… express our gratitude at being invited to participate in such negotiations and hope the matter will be resolved amicably as soon as reasonably possible,” said chairman Lazarus Baloyi.

Baloyi told The Star that there was no deadlock and that talks and negotiations would continue until an agreeable solution for all could be found.

The Department of Human Settlements said that more time had to be allocated for new submissions.

Xolani Xundu, spokesman for human development department, said the team is “drawing closer to finding an amicable and lasting solution to the housing crisis in Lenasia”.

“Each stakeholder was required to make submissions on how best to deal with the situation, and this process has helped the Split to work collectively and to bring speedy resolution to this matter.

Sexwale emphasised that this will be an ‘all-in’ process, where all parties must have a say and participate in finding a solution to this matter. I am glad to say that we are moving very well towards the finalisation of this matter,” said Neville Chainne, acting director-general of the human settlements department.

The Split team consists of the national and provincial departments of human settlements, the SA Human Rights Commission, the Legal Resources Centre, community representatives from affected Lenasia areas, both legal and illegal occupiers, as well as Ennerdale and Lawley residents who are bound to be affected by possible demolitions next.


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