HRC obtains interdict against Lenasia demolitions

2012-11-12 12:36
Loyiso Sidimba
The Human Rights Commission (HRC) secured a 24-hour interdict against the Gauteng local government and housing department’s demolition of illegally built houses in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg.

According to commission spokesperson Isaac Mangena, the South Gauteng High Court suspended demolitions until the HRC has fully consulted with the community.

“The court also granted the department an opportunity to respond to the commission’s application,” Mangena said.

The matter will now be heard tomorrow.

The HRC launched an urgent court application against the department following its decision to demolish houses in Lenasia late last week.

The department has already demolished 37 of the 113 houses built on fraudulently acquired government land.

Residents bought the land for up to R95 000 from fraudsters using official government documents.

Mangena said the commission was pleased that its intervention has stopped further demolitions for at least 24 hours.

“This gives us time to consult residents to establish factual evidence that may be of assistance to all parties,” he said.

The HRC will also conduct a census of the community to determine the number of houses already demolished, those earmarked for demolition, and the number of people affected.

Spokesperson Motsamai Motlhaolwa said the department had not been informed by its lawyers about the HRC’s interdict.