Sexwale promises new houses in Lenasia

Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale. Pic: GHS

Pretoria – Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale on Tuesday announced that from January 2013, government will construct new low-cost houses in Lenasia, where houses that were built on illegally acquired land were demolished last month.

Sexwale said the houses would be built for those individuals on government’s housing waiting list.

Speaking at a media briefing in Pretoria, he called on those who illegally acquired land in Lenasia to come forward and point out the people they were colluding with, to ensure that the culprits involved in the selling of state-owned land were dealt with.

According to Sexwale, the investigation into the Lenasia scam would involve speaking to some of the banks that financed the acquisition of land in Lenasia.

The minister said more people, including government officials suspected to be involved in the land scam, were expected to be arrested soon.

A number of houses believed to have been built on state land and fraudulently sold to unsuspecting individuals were demolished in Lenasia last month.

Sexwale explained that the demolition of houses was done in accordance with a court order granted to government.

“The court agreed that those houses can be demolished. The public must understand that we are dealing with a criminal situation and we are mindful that society was concerned,” he said.

According to Sexwale, the South Gauteng High Court ordered the evictions in 2011. Sexwale said government and the Lenasia Special Intervention Team would work together to get to the bottom of the problem.

Prior to addressing the media, Sexwale and the department’s Director General had a meeting with the Lenasia Special Intervention Team members, where they had agreed, among others, to ensure that they have on-going consultation meetings, and to meet with the relevant Chapter 9 institutions to discuss land invasion challenges in Gauteng.

Sexwale said although the demolition of houses had been put on hold for now, it would continue once investigations had been concluded.

He further explained that government was not compelled to find alternative accommodation for those affected by the demolitions.

“Lenasia is not a [matter] of the poor; here we are dealing with wealthy individuals,” he said.

The Lenasia Special Intervention Team comprises, among others, representatives of those whose houses were demolished, the South African Police Service, the Hawks and National Prosecution Authority. –