MEC cancels Lenasia visit

Provincial Housing MEC Ntombi Mekgwe was held up in the Gauteng Legislature, her office said.

Houses, which had allegedly been built illegally in Lenasia ext 13 are torn down. Picture: Tumisang Ndlovu/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Local Government and Housing MEC Ntombi Mekgwe on Monday cancelled her visit to Lenasia, south of Johannesburg.

She was due to explain the demolition of houses built on illegally sold land, but cancelled her trip at the last minute.

Furious residents protested in the area when the department started tearing down houses.

The MEC's office said Megkwe was held up at the Gauteng Legislature and that she had not rescheduled her visit, as yet.

Since last week, 51 illegally built structures were demolished in the area.

Megkwe's department identified 113 illegal land sales in Lenasia.

The discovery was made after officials investigated an alleged syndicate operating in the area.

Three people, including housing officials, have been arrested for the illegal sales.

On Monday, the South African Rights Commission (SAHRC) approached the South Gauteng High Court to obtain an order preventing further demolitions.

The Johannesburg court issued an order in favour of the commission.

The SAHRC said the order was a big step in upholding the Constitution.

Lawyer Chantal Kissoon said the decision showed that the state had a case to answer to.

"We are not seeing the demolitions in isolation, but as a central part of ongoing human rights violations. We hope to address it in a way that is reconciliatory."

Meanwhile, the ANC Women's League (ANCWL) said it was "shocked" by footage of houses being demolished.

The League's Buyi Majola told residents that she would demand answers.

"As leaders of the constituency of women in this region and cadres of the ANC, we cannot pretend as if something [this incident] did not happen."