Dept. to demolish more Lenasia homes

Houses which had allegedly been built illegally in Lenasia Ext 13 are torn down. Picture: Tumisang Ndlovu/EWN
JOHANNESBURG - As residents in Lenasia continue protesting this morning, the Gauteng Housing Department is set to demolish more illegally built houses in the area on Friday.

A total of 37 of 113 homes were knocked down on Thursday.

Protesters again started blocking roads and throwing stones early this morning, but police are on the scene and say the situation is now under control.

Angry residents are standing behind burning tires on one side of Nirvana Drive, while police are on the opposite side.

Housing officials were expected to continue demolishing houses at 8am, but the team has not yet arrived.

Motorists have been advised to avoid the area.

The police's Kay Makhubela said, “We have been monitoring the situation since Thursday night. Protesters were singing songs and burning tires and rubbish.”

Several families were displaced on Thursday following an operation by the Housing Department.

While the department said, its well within the law to destroy the homes, a concerned residents group said local government is trying to cover up its own fraud.

Earlier, motorists were pelted with stones while residents blocked off roads with large rocks.

According to witnesses, some main roads are still blocked.

The department has denied allegations that some of its officials colluded with those that have been selling land illegally in Lenasia.

The department's Motsamai Motlhaolwa said the allegations levelled against the officials were absurd.

"We expect such allegations to come forward because they are trying to taint the department for doing a good job."

The Concerned Residents of Lenasia said they alerted the department to fraud and corruption in 2008.

The organisation's Lazarus Baloyi said since then, they have had meetings with the department, but they are still at a disadvantage.

"We just hope they will come to their senses and stop the demolition.

The department remains adamant there will be more demolitions in the area.

No arrests have yet been made after the protests which began last night.