'Land syndicates must be pointed out'
Tokyo Sexwale asks Lenasia residents to provide evidence of land syndicates.
JOHANNESBURG - Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale renewed a call for people, who claim to have been duped into buying government land illegally in Lenasia, to provide evidence.
The minister visited the area south of Johannesburg on Tuesday and urged those who occupied the properties illegally to come forward and point out the syndicate who sold them the land.
Earlier in November, over 80 homes were demolished because they were built on land belonging to the Gauteng Housing Department.
The land was sold to members of the public by a syndicate, including officials from the department.
Sexwale inspected buildings that were demolished and spoke to residents in a bid to end the housing crisis in the area.
He said a solution cannot be found until the 'culprits' who sold the land were apprehended.
"Those criminals operate inside our government and outside."
He said his ministry was well aware of syndicates threatening people who intended reporting them to authorities.
Sexwale begged residents to stop building on illegally bought land as demolitions have also stopped.
Speaking in a packed hall, Sexwale set the record straight before making his address.
"I have not come here for your votes for the 2014 general elections or the ANC conference in Mangaung or anything like that."
He then laid down the hard facts at the heart of the land grabs in Lenasia South.
"At the end of all this, we must accept one thing - this land that you bought belongs to the government."
The minister said any solutions to the problem should be fair to both sides.
"The innocent must not suffer."
Sexwale added he will be establishing a multi-discipline forum that will be tasked with resolving the 10-year-old problem.