No tenant will be evicted from flats owned by the province, says Madikizela
MEC addresses concerns about rents and evictions
No one is to be evicted and rent is not being increased in rented accommodation owned by the provincial Department of Human Settlements, according to MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela.
Madikizela was addressing the media about “allegations of tenants being evicted, relocated and forced to sign new leases” in flats in Sanddrift, De Waal Drive, Mandarin Court, Naruna Estate, Rugby, La Colline, Paarl and Worcester.
Last week tenants from Naruna Estate, Rugby, Sanddrift and De Waal Drive marched to the provincial legislature to hand over a memorandum to Madikizela. They were demanding public participation on amended lease agreements which they claim they were being forced to sign by 1 June. They claimed that they were being forced to move to Pelican Park or to pay higher rents.
“There are a number of people who are claiming that we have increased the rent, that it is not affordable. That is not true and we want to make that very clear. Tenants continue to pay the rent in terms of the lease agreement we have with them. So there is no truth in the claims that we are increasing the rent or evicting anyone,” said Madikizela.
He said the rents brought in less than the cost of maintaining the flats. “That is not an ideal situation because rental stock must be self sustainable. The department is not making profit out of rental accommodation. But the least that we expect is that the rental payment we get must be able to assist us to maintain the rental accommodation.
“When we talk about rental accommodation, there is a very clear policy that we follow. The agreement is between the tenant and the department, not with the members of the extended family. Extended family members do not inherit rental accommodation. We are seeing now that people want to inherit rental accommodation by demanding that lease agreements be transferred from their parents to them,” said Madikizela.
He said the amended rental lease agreements would allow the department to better manage and enforce terms and conditions in order to address things like breach of contract. Tenants with a source of income would get a three-year renewable lease and tenants who were unemployed and had no source of income would get a six month lease.
Madikizela said rent arrears in accommodation owned by the department amounted to R8 million.
“We are aware that people’s circumstances change from time to time. If people can show that they cannot pay then we are prepared to start on a clean slate, because we want to be fair.
“We take into consideration that people have been living in our rental accommodation for a particular time and to move a person from a house to a waiting list is actually chucking that person onto the street. We immediately put you into a house, we have done that for some De Waal tenants, they are now living in Pelican Park. Pelican Park is a very good establishment,” said Madikizela.
Asked by GroundUp whether tenants, specifically in Naruna Estate, would be consulted, Madikizela said he had intended to speak to the tenants in Naruna Estate on 9 May but he had been told they would march on 10 May. “We then said what’s the point of going to that meeting if they are planning to march? They marched to us and handed over a memorandum, and we have responded to that memorandum”.
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