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Thursday Dec 06, 2012

Lenasia housing roadshow a step toward solving conundrum

The first practical steps to start resolving the problem of illegal properties in Lenasia started yesterday with a roadshow held by Gauteng housing and national Human Settlements Department officials.

This follows the intervention of Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale last month after an outcry by residents whose illegal homes were demolished.

Yesterday, pamphlets were distributed to residents, inviting them to present themselves at the Gauteng Housing Department from today and submit all their documents. Banners were put up and officials toured the affected areas.

Sulliman Barends, of the Concerned Lenasia Residents' Association, representing the illegal land invaders, said they were satisfied with the process.

"Pamphlets were distributed today and we assisted by sending out SMSes to our members to present themselves at the Housing Department today to register," he said.

Residents must produce documents proving their status and housing needs.

However, there are bound to be many casualties as the plans of all the illegally built houses now have to be submitted to the City of Joburg. Many of them were built quickly, and are simple two-room, flat-roof houses constructed just to show that the structure is occupied, to prevent demolition.

Some of the more expensive houses appear to the naked eye to have building defects, a fact which Sexwale remarked on when visiting the area.

All illegally built houses will have to submit plans in terms of national building regulations, which state that "a home builder may not commence with the construction of a home unless it is enrolled with the National Housing Building Regulatory Council".

Section 14(A) of the act makes provision for late enrolment and non-declared enrolment. Residents will have to submit to the Joburg council the required documentation explaining the late enrolment.

Before the council accepts the late enrolment, they will have to pay a fee for late enrolment and rectify identified defects that affect the structural integrity of the house.

The City of Joburg, through its entities Joburg Water and City Power, will also start cutting off services connected illegally.

A decision was also taken to immediately remove rubble from all stands where demolition had taken place and secure such stands against any further illegal invasion.

According to Sexwale, investigations of cases reported, as well as the prosecution of all guilty people, will start soon. An admission of guilt fine will be accepted in certain circumstances.

People renting out houses, and not living in them, will forfeit their properties.

The Star


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