Lenasia residents: Illegal settlers are lying

The Gauteng housing department demolished 30 half-built structures in Lenasia’s Extension 4 on 19 November 2012. Picture: Theo Nkonki/EWN
A woman watches as a house in Lenasia is demolished on 19 November 2012. Picture: iWitness

LENASIA - Some Lenasia residents have accused illegal settlers in the area of using the media to lie about recent demolitions by the Gauteng Housing Department.

Over 50 homes built on illegally-sold land were demolished in Extension 13 two weeks ago. Yesterday, another 30 half-built structures were torn down in Extension 4.

There are claims that residents who illegally built houses in Extension 4 put up curtains and mattresses in the unoccupied houses.

Residents said the owners of the illegal land started doing that after the department announced it would not destroy occupied houses.

Barends Suliman told Eyewitness News his wife was pulled out of their illegally built home yesterday.

“My wife was inside the house. [She was] dragged out.”

But one resident who witnessed the incident said Suliman was lying.

“I was present when they started. Every single house that was brought down was unoccupied.”

He said the owners of the illegal structures spent the whole day transporting beds and curtains to the houses earmarked for demolition.

The man claims most of the affected residents do not live in the area.

Meanwhile, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will return to the South Gauteng High Court on Friday, when its case to halt demolitions in Extension 13 will be heard.

It obtained a court interdict preventing government from continuing with the destruction of houses in the area after the first 51 structures were torn down.

It argues that the demolitions were illegal, but government says it was acting in accordance with a 2010 court order.