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Lenasia: SAHRC engages with stakeholders supporting its court application

16 November 2012

ATTTENTION: Editors and Reporters

The South African Human Rights Commission held a meeting on Friday morning with the residents of Lenasia and other interested parties that included the SA Communist Party, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, and SA National Civic Organisation as part of its engagements with stakeholders in its investigation into the demolition of houses in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, by the Gauteng Department of Housing.

The meeting was chaired by SAHRC Chairperson Adv. Lawrence Mushwana who expressed his gratitude at the manner in which the parties have shown interest in the Lenasia matter.

The stakeholders pledged their support to the SAHRC in its on-going court action against the Department of Housing, in which it seeks to protect the human rights of vulnerable groups, especially women, children and people with disabilities.

The stakeholders also expressed the need to seek solutions to manage the devastating effects of the demolition of houses, including finding temporary accommodation for women and children, most of whom are currently writing final exams.

The Commission also welcomed the intention expressed by the COSATU to join in the court dispute as an amicus curiae (Friend of the Court).

The parties also expressed the need for a thorough investigation in this matter and similar ones across the province, including an investigation into suspicions of corruption. All the stakeholders in this meeting agreed that in this regard, the Public Protector has a role to play in a broader investigation.
The Commission will hold similar meetings with other interested stakeholders in its quest to gather facts in this matter.

The Chairperson has in the interim written a letter to the office of the Gauteng MEC for Housing requesting her to stop further evictions, to allow the investigations to continue, and for the possibility to engage an independent mediator to help us reach an amicable solution in this matter.

The Commission is however planning to proceed to argue its case against the Department on Friday the 23rd of November 2012 before the South Gauteng High Court.

Issued by:

Isaac Mangena

Head: Communications

South African Human Rights Commission


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