More than 35 unoccupied building structures were demolished by the Gauteng Department of Local Government Housing in Lenasia South on Monday.
This after the department found out that some residents had ignored calls to discontinue building houses in that area as the land they were building on was acquired illegally.
Upon receiving information that construction was still continuing, the departments’ officials, accompanied by members of the media, did a survey of the area on Sunday and found more than 100 unoccupied structures built on illegally-bought land.
Departmental spokesperson, Motsamai Motlhaolwa, described the actions as unbecoming and unlawful and that the department will stop at nothing in making sure that the illegally-acquired land is claimed back.
“This is an embarrassment to society. These people have not only stolen land from the government but also continue to steal electricity and water from law-abiding citizens. Legal owners who pay their rates need protection from the government and we cannot allow lawlessness and total disregard for the law to continue unabatedly,” Motsamai said.
This was the second leg of demolitions following the first one that took place two weeks ago.
At some of the structures, the departments’ officials were met with resistance with some of the residents forming a human shield to prevent the bulldozers from demolishing the structures.
A furious resident, who refused to give out her name for fear of victimisation, said that she was enraged by illegal occupants as they did not only devalue their houses but they were also disrupting essential services.
“These people build their houses on top of the drainage systems and when our drains become blocked it becomes a mission for the municipal officials to unblock them. We cannot be paying our rates and taxes and yet be subjected to stinking drench of waste caused by their irresponsible actions,” she said.
Motsamai said that the department will leave no stone unturned as they have doubled their efforts of combating organised crime and warned syndicates that their immoral actions would be brought to a halt.
“We know who is selling the land and we will come very hard on them. The SABC News expose about the woman who was selling land illegally vindicated the department as it showed that the action taken by the department was the correct one. The Hawks’ investigations are ongoing and whoever was involved in the scam will face the full might of the law,” he said.
Motsamai called on the residents to refrain from being lured into criminal activities and urged them to come forward to name and shame the criminals.
More structures are expected to be demolished in the coming weeks as the department has so far indentified about 100 structures that have been occupied illegally.