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Transforming Society

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Restoring Dignity

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Tuesday says it has reached an agreement with City of Johannesburg Geoff Makhubo to halt the demolition of residents’ houses in Lawley.

21 April 2020

PRETORIA, April 21 (ANA) – The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Tuesday said it had reached an agreement with City of Johannesburg Geoff Makhubo to halt the demolition of residents’ houses in Lawley.
“The commission’s Gauteng provincial head visited the area [Lawley] on Monday in order to obtain a first-hand account of what happened to the affected residents,” the SAHRC said in a statement.
"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] 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 to find amicable and implementable solutions,” the SAHRC said.
The City of Johannesburg has told the SAHRC that the invaded land is owned by the department of human settlements and has been earmarked for a housing development, and a 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,” the SAHRC said.
“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.”
On Monday, the South African Communist Party in Gauteng criticised the evictions and demolitions of houses in Lawley, south of Johannesburg, during the current extended lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.
“Equally, we are perturbed by the evictions and house demolitions by the City of Johannesburg in Lawley, south of Johannesburg,” said SACP Gauteng second deputy secretary Sekete Moshoeshoe.
"We are reliably informed that almost 100 poor working-class families have been displaced and left destitute by this action of the city.
“Of particular concern to us is that these demolitions are taking place during the Covid-19 lockdown and most probably in violation of the regulation that clearly stipulates that no one should be evicted during the lockdown period," Moshoeshoe said.
"We call on the provincial government to urgently attend to this impending crisis before it gets of out of hand.”

Source: African News Agency (ANA)

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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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