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Court halts Lenasia demolitions

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By SAPA

Johannesburg - A court order halted the demolition of houses in Lenasia illegally erected on land owned by the City of Johannesburg on Monday, the SA Human Rights Commission said.

Spokesman Isaac Mangena said the High Court in Johannesburg granted the commission's application, and suspended the demolitions for at least 24 hours.

“The court is also granting the department an opportunity to respond to the commission's application which will be heard on Tuesday,” he said.

The Gauteng department of local government and housing began destroying houses last Thursday and Friday as the land they had been built on was meant for government housing.

About 50 houses had been destroyed so far and another 113 were yet to be demolished. Fraudsters had apparently sold plots of the land, giving buyers forged deeds of sale with the department's logo.

The department defended the demolitions and said it was acting in line with the law. On Monday residents blockaded a road leading into Lenasia with rocks and burning tyres, protesting against the demolitions.

Mangena said the judge presiding over the matter asked that the commission conduct a poll to determine how many people would be affected by the demolitions, and how many houses had been, and would be, destroyed.

“This gives us time to consult with the residents to establish factual evidence that may be of assistance to all parties in this matter,” he said. - Sapa

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