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SAHRC: City of Joburg agrees to halt demolitions of homes in Lawley

Last week, the Red Ants demolished homes at the Kokotela informal settlement in the area.

Residents of Kokotela informal settlement, in Lawley, rebuild their homes after 80 shacks were destroyed by the Red Ants. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Human Rights Commissions (SAHRC) on Tuesday said it had consulted with the Mayor of Johannesburg Geoff Makhubo to halt the demolition of people’s homes in Lawley in Gauteng.

Last week, the Red Ants demolished homes at the Kokotela informal settlement in the area.

They were acting on a court order obtained by the City of Joburg.

According to a statement by the SAHRC, the executive mayor had agreed to further meet with the commission on 23 April 2020 to find “amicable and implantable solutions.”

"According to the City of Johannesburg, the occupied properties owned by the Department of Human Settlements are earmarked for a housing development and are meant for the proposed township," the statement read.

The commission said it viewed the land occupation as symptomatic of an acute need for housing near economic opportunities and the slow progress of land reform.

GALLERY: Red Ants evict residents from Lakeview informal settlement

Meanwhile, Gauteng Cooperative Governance MEC Lebogang Maile said his department would now work with the relevant law enforcement agencies to deal with those behind the land invasion.

Maile said they had now formulated a plan to deal with what he calls criminal syndicates: “We will respond accordingly with the full might of the law.”

The affected residents at the Kokotela informal settlement have lost their case against the City of Joburg.

The High Court ruled that they must be moved as they have occupied the land illegally.