'Money was wasted on Lenasia demolitions'

But the Gauteng Housing Department says it will provide housing in Lenasia for poorer people.

A woman tries to stop a bulldozer from demolishing a house in Lenasia's Extension 13 in southern Johannesburg, on 9 November 2012. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng Department of Housing on Sunday said it would not provide new homes for those who built on illegal land in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg.

Residents in Lenasia Extension 13 say they are furious with government for demolishing the houses they built on land slated for low-cost housing, while waiting for the State to deliver.

Government has destroyed 51 structures so far, while a total of 113 houses have been identified as having been built illegally.

Demolitions were halted when the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) was granted a High Court interdict last week.

Yesterday, Lenasia residents said the housing department was wasting money by knocking down structures, when they were actually "relieving" government of its low-cost housing backlog.

Community leader Lazarus Baloyi said: "We are building [our own] houses, and they don't have to spend money. That money could be used for something else."

But housing department spokesperson Motsamai Motlhaolwa said the residents would not have qualified for government low-cost housing.

"Those are not your ordinarily poor people of South Africa. These are people who were able to raise money to buy a piece of land and had the money to go and buy material and build for themselves.

He said occupants of the illegally built homes in Lenasia were above the R3,500 a month threshold that would make them eligible for low-cost houses.