Lenz houses: more officials face arrest

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sa lenasia demo INLSA TALKING HEADS: David Makhura of the ANC has revealed that the demolition of houses in Lenasia and other areas in the province will come to a halt while several department official are investigated for their part in illegal selling of state land. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya


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MORE senior officials in the Gauteng Department of Local Government and Housing face arrest over the illegally-built houses in Lenasia.

This is according to ANC provincial secretary David Makhura and his counterparts in the ANC Alliance of SACP, Cosatu and Sanco, who said affected residents have provided proof showing monies were paid to these officials to purchase government owned land to build houses.

These revelations came after the department and the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), in a bilateral meeting, agreed to halt the demolition of homes built on government owned land in Lenasia.

The bilateral agreement was then made an order of the Johannesburg High Court on Friday.

The agreement came after more than 60 homes were demolished.

Makhura lauded the latest court order, which his party and alliance partners support. He said the ANC decision to support the halt of the demolitions came after Lenasia residents flocked to his offices at the Walter Sisulu House in Commissioner Street and showed them proof of legal transactions.

Makhura said the demolitions were stopped after the department and the ANC were provided with proof that these residents paid certain officials money to obtain the land and build houses.

He did not want to divulge the nature of the proof, saying such information would be sent to the Hawks for the purpose of criminal investigations and possible arrest of these corrupt officials.

Makhura also said that there was a need to “mobilise the community by calling on the affected residents and all those with claims of land and house ownership acquired through these allegedly corrupt practices to submit all documents and information relating to the acquisition and ownership of houses.

“This information will then be used to address the individual circumstances of each affected family or resident. There should be a differentiated approach to the problems faced by affected families and each case must be dealt with on its merit. Remedies will include various forms of redress in case of demolished houses, depending on its facts and circumstances,” Makhura said.

In spite of being in possession of proof linking government officials to the illegal sale of land, the ANC and its alliance partners were adamant that there were a growing number of syndicates operational in the sale of government-owned land. He appealed to residents, who brought land through these gangs, to come out in the open and to reveal the identities of the ringleaders.

These alliance leaders were impressed with the latest revelations, but said they needed more incriminating evidence to allow them the opportunity to fully understand the seriousness of the crimes committed by the syndicates and government officials.

While the court order only affects residents of Lenasia, Makhura said they had agreed with the MEC for Local Government and Housing Ntombi Mekgwe to also halt intended demolitions in other parts of the province with similar problems of land invasion and illegal sale of land.

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