Media Statement - 28 November 2012

HUMAN Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has warned the Special Lenasia Intervention Team that whatever it proposes as solutions to the problem affecting the area must be within the law.

The Special Lenasia Intervention Team that consists of representatives from affected communities, officials from provincial and national government, the Human Rights Commission, the Hawks, the SIU, the Public Protector, among others, had its first meeting in Pretoria this afternoon.

The "All-In” Intervention Team was set up by Sexwale following a visit to Lenasia South on Monday.

"No agreement emanating from this room must be unlawful even though the temptation might be there. I cannot implement unlawful solutions. We are a constitutional state and we have no choice but to operate within the law,” he said.

The solutions would vary case-by-case however, as there was no one-size-fits-all. The problem had to be compartmentalized.

Firstly, the interest of the State should be in protecting citizens who suddenly found themselves with "illegal neighbours” fraudulently connecting electricity and water, thereby affecting the values of their homes in the property market.

"I stress that because in this whole debate legal residents are forgotten and government stands for and with them,” Sexwale said.

The State was also behind people who were duped and tricked into a scam they did not know.

Other people in Lenasia were aware that they were benefiting from the proceeds of crime.

The "All-In” Intervention Team also had to find solutions covering people who acquired land illegally but have not started building, for those who had their houses demolished, and for those who have finished building but have not moved in.

The Team had to come up with specific proposals and recommendation in respect of each of the categories and may consider, for an example, redress through compensation, valuation with a view to sell, asset forfeiture, further demolitions and prosecution of wrong-doers.

"You task is not to generalize but have a pin-point approach to the problem that must be underpinned by legality,” Sexwale told meeting.

The Minister also called on people to come forward and work with government in identifying and reporting criminal elements involved in the illegal sale of government land in Lenasia.

The meeting was also attended by Gauteng MEC for Local Government and Housing Ntombi Mekgwe, Human Rights Commission Chairman Lawrance Mushwana and City of Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee responsible for Housing Bonakele Bovu.

Issued by the Ministry of Human Settlements

For more information please call Xolani Xundu at 083 788 5747

Press Release Date: 
Wednesday, November 28, 2012