Mangaung municipality goes after defaulting tenants

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Red Ants can be seen through windows as they evict a large number of residents from a derelict building on the corner of Harrison and Jeppe streets in the Johannesburg CBD, 19 July 2017. Picture: Neil McCartney

The Mangaung metropolitan municipality is going after non-paying tenants in residential flats and houses to try and recover monies owed to the municipality.

Operation Patala (Pay up) will focus on non-paying tenants in residential flats, sites that were never paid and reallocation of informal sites sold to non-qualifying beneficiaries.

“All non-paying tenants and those who are employed have been referred to the city’s attorneys (Ramothello Attorneys) to start with the eviction process. This will be dealt with on merit,” said municipal spokesperson Qondile Khedama.

He said unemployed tenants would be required to present proof and a plan will be made to accommodate them in alternative settlement sites owned by the city.

“There have been issues with non-paying tenants at Lourierpark flats over the years. All necessary steps to inform tenants have been taken,” said Khedama.

He said that there were also informal sites that were allocated to beneficiaries who sold them to non-qualifying beneficiaries or non-South Africans.

“We have embarked on the operation to take back these sites and allocate them to beneficiaries who are in real need of accommodation. Where the non-qualifying occupant has built a permanent structure, we make them offers to pay for land costs. Failure to pay will lead to eviction,” he added.

The first phase of the campaign started in November 2019 and since then 112 accounts have been handed over to Ramothello Attorneys and defaulting tenants issued with letters of demand.

The city will now embark on eviction applications in court.

“The campaign also seeks to recover monies from people who were sold sites in Bloemside in the 1990s. Most occupants never paid the land costs; some have built houses and others have sold the sites to third parties,” said Khedama.

The Citizen

Gcina Ntsaluba

gcinan@citizen.co.za