Those living in the Joe Slovo housing scheme who have heeded the City’s call to sign formal lease agreements will have their debt written off. Read more below:
The City of Cape Town took over the management of the 705 Joe Slovo Park units in June 2013 and has since been engaging with the Joe Slovo Committee to formalise their occupancy, but to no avail. Despite attempts to enter into formal lease agreements with the City, the residents repeatedly refused to do so.
Lease agreements not only enable the City to work in a more financially sustainable and formal manner, but are also a prerequisite for the City to attend to normal repairs and maintenance requests from tenants.
The now defunct Thubelisha Homes was responsible for the construction of these flats with funding received from National Government. The City did not oversee the development, nor was it involved in the construction. It took over the tenancy management of the units in 2013. Many occupants, however, live rent-free and refuse to enter into formal lease agreements with the City. The City has, however, continued to attend to repairs and maintenance of a health and safety nature.‘We held numerous meetings and workshops and made requests for the occupants to enter into formal lease agreements with the City, but the response remained poor.
‘So in December 2015 we delivered letters to each unit advising the occupants to come forth and sign agreements. This was our final attempt to regularise this situation. As a result, 122 occupants out of the 705 responded to our call. Council has now agreed that we may write off some R560 000 in housing rental arrears and also services debt of more than R6,9 million, including the amount that will be accrued up to 31 August 2016.
‘In a landlord and tenant relationship both parties have rights and responsibilities. Rental monies collected contribute to the maintenance of our housing stock. We urge our tenants across the city to pay their rent and to speak to us if they cannot afford their monthly rental. We can make a plan,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Benedicta van Minnen.
Council approved the debt write-off during the full Council sitting today, 24 August 2016. The amounts that will be written off will be done under the City’s Bad Debt Provision for the arrear amounts accrued from 122 out of the 705 occupants. After this write off, Council’s full debt management processes will again be applied by the City’s Revenue Department.