Protesters block road in land row

Lenasia residents blocked the road leading to Lenasia Extension 13 on Monday to protest against the demolition of illegally built homes.

They blockaded the road with rocks and tyres and sang songs while police watched from two armoured vehicles.

Many of the protesters wore African National Congress, SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) and Congress of SA Trade Union (Cosatu) T-shirts.

Sanco and Cosatu have called for an immediate halt to the demolitions.

Over 100 houses which the government said was illegally erected on land owned by the City of Johannesburg were still to be demolished, the provincial local government and housing department said earlier.

“We were vindicated by the High Court last week Friday when an urgent application by the residents and those occupying that land was dismissed, as the court agreed we were acting well within our rights by demolishing those houses,” said department head Mongezi Myani.

The department would work with the police and Johannesburg metro police to ensure the demolitions went ahead with no disruptions. Officials tearing the houses down had not been intimidated, but safety was a priority.

There were no bulldozers visible on Monday morning.

Last week the department destroyed about 50 houses. Another 113 houses were yet to be demolished.  

The department said fraudsters had sold plots for between R2,500 and R95,000.

Buyers were apparently issued with fraudulent deeds of sale which had the department’s logo.

Various groups including the SA Human Rights Commission and Cosatu had criticised the demolitions. Some home owners claimed they had been living on the properties for over 10 years.

Lenasia residents also barricaded roads and burnt tyres last week.