Court to rule on Lenasia demolitions

The High Court will decide whether local government can continue demolishing houses in Lenasia.

The Gauteng Housing Department demolished illegally built homes in Lenasia on 9 November 2012, sparking unrest in the   area. Picture: Iekraam Jardine/iWitness

JOHANNESBURG - It is now up to Gauteng Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo to decide whether the provincial government can continue demolishing houses which were built on illegally sold land in Lenasia.

Fifty-one homes have been torn down so far.

A South Gauteng High Court order halted the demolitions until Wednesday, when the case between the Gauteng Housing Department and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will be heard.

The human rights commission has committed to filing its affidavits by noon, after they have been signed by a commissioner of oath.

SAHRC chief executive Kayum Ahmed on Tuesday blamed the State for delaying the finalisation of its paper work, resulting in yesterday's postponement.

"We will require some time to respond to these matters. In addition, we've also conducted a census of the area."

The commission has argued that the demolition of 51 of the 113 structures built on illegally sold land violates the people's right to dignity.

But the State says the housing department followed all legal processes in line with a court order obtained in 2010.