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Fri Oct 31 23:25:42 SAST 2014

Tears as bulldozers roll through Lenasia South

Sapa | 09 November, 2012 12:01
A catapillar at work during the structural demolition by the Department of Housing. File picture.
Image by: Bafana Mahlangu

A Lenasia woman cried hysterically as her house was about to be demolished.

Three bulldozers waited on the street next to her house, escorted by three police Nyalas (armoured vehicles) and other police vehicles.

The woman, carrying a small child, was refusing to leave the incomplete house so police went in and dragged her out.

Her neighbour ran over and tried to stop the bulldozer. She stood in front of it, pressing her hands against it to prevent it from going forward.

The other woman cried: "Please, please, please, don't do it".

The house is one of 113 houses in the area which the Gauteng department of housing has said are illegally built on land intended for government houses.

"Investigations by the department's anti-fraud and corruption unit revealed that fraudsters sold several stands [for amounts] ranging from R2500 to R95,000, and issued buyers with fraudulent deeds of sale which bore the department's official logo," it said in a statement on Thursday.

Thirty-seven houses were destroyed on Thursday.

Spokesman Motsamai Motlhaolwa said the owners would not be compensated for their losses

Realising she could not hold off the bulldozer, the woman moved away, taking her crying neighbour's child from her as she was being pulled from the building.

While she was trying to comfort the woman, the bulldozer hit one of the house's walls and it fell with a heavy thud.

Soon, the house has been completely demolished and the bulldozer moved to the next one.

Earlier, residents in Lenasia Extension 13 barricaded roads and set tyres on fire in protest against the demolition, said Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela.

He said no one had been arrested or injured.

Motlhaolwa said residents were told not to build houses on the land in 2006 and that a court order was obtained to stop them from building, but that a syndicate had convinced them otherwise.

Motlhaolwa said three members of the syndicate were arrested for fraud in 2009 and had since been jailed.

"They forged the [head of department's] signature and used [the] department's letterhead," he said.

He said investigations were continuing and more arrests could be made.

Makhubela said the police would continue to monitor the protest and demolition.

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