Task team appointed for Lenasia

Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale speaks to residents of Lenasia ext 3 & 14, whose homes were demolished. Picture: Theo Nkonki/EWN.
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PRETORIA - Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale on Wednesday said he has ordered a task team to resolve the Lenasia saga swiftly.

Sexwale said he did this given the damage Lenasia demolitions has done to the country's reputation.

He also said the agreement with the residents has to be lawful for his department to settle on.

“When we were there, people showed a lot of trust in us. They are expecting a lot from this meeting,” said Sexwale.

The team Sexwale appointed includes representatives from the Human Rights Commission (HRC), the Gauteng Housing Department and Lenasia residents.

The parties involved decided to settle out of court on the issue.

The HRC had approached the South Gauteng High Court arguing that the demolitions violated the Lenasia residents’ right to dignity.

Sexwale addressed the special Lenasia intervention team's first meeting in Pretoria on Wednesday.

More than 80 structures built on illegally sold land were torn down in November.

The land was sold to members of the public by a syndicate, including officials who allegedly work for 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.

(Edited by Katleho Mogase)