Media Statement - 04 December 2012

Pretoria - Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has spelt out plans aimed at resolving the ongoing dispute over the illegal occupation of land in Lenasia.

The Minister was speaking in Pretoria today where he, and members of the Special Lenasia Intervention Team, briefed the media on actions that would be taken to finally resolve the matter

Minister Sexwale emphasized that the public ought to be mindful of the fact that the task team was dealing with a criminal matter, in which unscrupulous elements fraudulently sold government land to unsuspecting individuals.

However, he emphasized that much as government was sympathetic to the innocent people who fell victims of the scam, the law had to take its course and government wanted the matter resolved within the ambits of the law.

"We are not dealing here with land invasions where the poor find themselves having to squat (as is the case) in more than 2000 informal settlements. The Lenasia situation is not about the poor. It’s about people who have scammed more than 600 government stands and sold them to unsuspecting people or people who knew this was a crime,” said Sexwale.

Minister Sexwale further explained that the Lenasia case was not comparable the 2002 "Grootboom Judgment” in which the Constitutional Court ruled that alternative accommodation should be provided to people who are being evicted.

He added that this was because in the Lenasia case, the court had already ordered the people to "move” or "demolish” their houses within 30 days and that this case was mainly a criminal matter involving syndicates that were using sophisticated ways to steal public land.

"The Law enforcement Agencies are acting on other people and following on other cases, as I speak, some members of the syndicate are in court and in jail. Further arrests of high profile people will follow soon,” added Sexwale.

The Head of Gauteng Department of Local Government and Housing Mongezi Mnyani said some of the recommendations included conducting an audit to determine who occupied the stands, and whether this was legal or illegal.

"We will know their financial status, their age, disability and whether they are on our demand database and this will help in profiling individuals who qualify for government full housing subsidy or Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme,” added Mnyani.

He added that Government wanted to commence with development in the area soon. Some sites would be sub-divided while some would be used for the construction of single and walk-up accommodation.

Other stands will cater for socio-economic amenities such as parks and schools, he added.

The full document with the recommendations of the Task Team is attached.

For more information contact: Xolani Xundu on 083 788 5747

Press Release Date: 
Tuesday, December 4, 2012