A solution to the situation in Lenasia will not tolerate or protect lawlessness, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale said on Monday.
Addressing two rival groups of residents at the civic centre in Lenasia South, Sexwale said he was visiting the area to bring unity.
He told armed police separating the groups to leave.
Before he got there, people claiming to be legal residents of the area chased away residents of extension 13, where houses were demolished last week.
Two women slapped, pushed and hit each other, and most of the “invaders” were locked out of the civic hall's yard.
Sexwale told the people whose houses were being demolished that he was not, as they had said, their last hope. He urged them to help the government catch the fraudsters who sold them the land.
“It's your job to reveal all those who sold you the land.”
He called on those who knew they were participating in a scam, and those who claimed not to have known that what they were doing was illegal, to come forward and help the department.
He said he was visiting Lenasia not because Cabinet had sent him, but because he was genuinely concerned about the residents.
The crowd, which at first was hostile, eventually applauded Sexwale and, at the end of his talk, sang: “izindlu, ziya setshenzelwa (one works to get a house)... .”
Almost three weeks ago, the Gauteng department of local governance and housing demolished about 50 houses. The department said it was acting within the law because the houses were on government land.
On Thursday, the Cabinet instructed Sexwale to work with the provincial department to reach a solution. - Sapa