Mekgwe: Banks know about illegal land sales

The country’s banks have been implicated in the Lenasia illegal land sales.

A Lenasia resident picks up bricks from his demolished house. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and MEC of Local Government and Housing Ntombi Mekgwe on Monday implicated the country's banks in the Lenasia illegal land sale scandal.

The pair said while a syndicate had been selling land that belonged to government, some banks had been approving loans to buy stands which they knew were acquired illegally.

The Gauteng Housing Department says it has uncovered 113 illegal land sales in Lenasia Extension 13.

Structures built on 51 pieces of land in the area were destroyed last week.

More homes are expected to be bull-dozed in due time.

Mekgwe yesterday said she could not name the banks that may have colluded with the syndicate, as investigations were still underway.

She said the people who started building houses had no building plans when approaching the banks.

"To acquire a loan, you must have a building plan; you must have a title deed."

The MEC accused those involved of being part of an organised crime syndicate.

Meanwhile, Mekgwe has confirmed the arrest of a man linked to the illegal sale of land in Lenasia.

The man was arrested yesterday, when the community pointed him out to the police during a visit there by the ANC Women's League.

Mekgwe hailed the arrest as another victory for her department.

The latest arrest brought to four the number of people in custody over the matter.

Government says it plans to build low-cost houses on the land it is claiming back.