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Government flattens illegal houses

GOVERNMENT has started with the demolition of hundreds of illegally built houses in Lenasia South, Johannesburg.

The first dozen of partially built structures went down shortly after two alleged land hijackers who sold stands and built some of the houses made their first appearance in the Protea magistrate's court on fraud charges on Friday.

Department of local government and housing officials had to get police reinforcement as they lead a grader through protesting residents who faced the prospect of their illegally houses being flattened.

There are about 300 stands and houses affected in Lenasia and about 500 in Lenasia South. The situation is similar in Lawley and Ennerdale.

An official said: "There are also many other fraudsters in Lenasia South, Lawley, Ennerdale and Vaal areas. Land invasions in these areas have escalated despite arrests that took place in 2008."

Housing spokesperson Fred Mokoko said: "Government is not just demolishing. We issued notices to people as they started building and they ignored them."

Sowetan has a list of people believed to be selling the land. Others are claiming to be registered agents who have a government mandate to sell stands.

But Mokoko dismissed this saying that "there is no government land for sale and all such transactions were illegal. Government will never give its land to a handful of people to sell on its behalf".

Water and electricity to the houses are also connected illegally.

Housing plans were not approved by the municipality and accounts do not exist.

Many residents who spoke to Sowetan on condition of anonymity claimed that they spent between and R250,000 and R500,000 to build the houses.


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