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Transforming Society

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Restoring Dignity

MEDIA STATEMENT: City of Johannesburg Agrees to Halt Demolitions in Lawley after SAHRC Intervention


21 April 2020

ATT: Editors and Reporters

The attention of the South African Human Rights Commission (the SAHRC or the Commission) was drawn to media reports about the demolition of shacks as well as brick and mortar houses in Lawley Extensions 4 and 5, in Gauteng.

The Commission’s Gauteng Provincial Head visited the area on Monday, the 20th April 2020 in order to obtain a first-hand account of what happened to the affected residents. Following this intervention, the Commission engaged the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg as well as the Acting Head of Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) this morning, Tuesday, 21st April 2020, to halt demolitions.

The Executive Mayor of the City has agreed to the request and will meet with the Commission at the City’s Offices on Thursday, the 23rd April 2020 to find amicable and implementable solutions.

According to the City of Johannesburg, the occupied properties owned by the Department of Human Settlements are earmarked for a housing development and are meant for the proposed township.

The Commission views the land occupation as symptomatic of an acute need for housing near economic opportunities and the slow progress of land reform.

The Commission however takes a strong stand against land grabs since these interfere with the plans of municipalities to provide housing in an equitable, fair and orderly manner. Further the Commission calls on communities to observe the lockdown regulations and to desist from erecting structures without the permission of the City of Johannesburg and the Department of Human Settlements. 


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Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission

Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Tel: 082 645 8573This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The South African Human Rights Commission.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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