Daily News: Evicted tenants try to reoccupy flats

The evicted Hillary Flats vigorously deny claims of intimidation and point out that being evicted at gun point, and kept out of your home at gun point, is clearly intimidatory.They argue that in fact social housing has been hijacked by private interests seeking private profit.


Evicted tenants try to reoccupy flats

Evicted tenants of Valley View in Hillary tried to reoccupy the block of flats at the weekend, but were stopped and escorted off the property by police and private security.

About 40 tenants were evicted after they allegedly failed to pay rent. This was after Sohco – a company partly funded by government subsidies that provides affordable rental flats – obtained a court order.

In protest against their eviction, the tenants have threatened to occupy Sohco offices in Jan Smuts Highway, Mayville, at 1pm on Tuesday.

According to one of the tenants, Ntombi Mpantsha, their attempt to move back was fuelled by sheer desperation and the hope that KwaZulu-Natal premier, Zweli Mkhize, would have intervened after a memorandum of their demands was handed to an official of his office last week.

Mpantsha said they had joined the march staged by Abahlali BaseMjondolo’s youth league and they had been under the impression that Mkhize had already had discussions with Sohco about the memorandum.

“It’s difficult, we are all squatting wherever people are willing to house us. As I speak to you, I have no idea where to go tonight,” she said.

KZN police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said the tenants left the property peacefully after it was explained to them that the court order prohibited them from returning to the property.

Sohco’s CEO, Heather Maxwell, said when tenants moved into the flats an agreement and lease was signed, stating the monthly rent.

She said a large number of tenants had continued to pay rent in terms of their agreement with Sohco, despite intimidation from non-paying tenants.


“We trust that these evictions, as regrettable as they were, has sent out a clear message that Sohco will not be held to ransom by the actions of a minority intent on hijacking our development. Our mission of providing good quality, affordable housing is simply too important for us to allow that,” Maxwell said.

The premier’s spokesman, Ndabezinhle Sibiya, said the premier was currently consulting with all “internal stakeholders” to sort the matter out.

“He is currently speeding up process in human settlements so that this matter is resolved,” he said.