Stand up to racist landlords

2014-01-19 14:00

When City Press reporter Sipho Masondo began looking for a home to rent, he could not know that his jarring experience with a white landlord?–?who refused to let his home out to black Africans –?would end up grabbing the attention of a Cabinet minister.

Masondo’s story and the investigation carried out by his colleagues (black and white) got people talking.

Some failed to see why landlords should not be allowed to choose their tenants according to race. Others were enraged by the naked racism that still bedevils South Africa 20 years after our rebirth as a democracy.

Importantly, the story prompted scores of ordinary South Africans to share their own experiences of rental racism.

And it got Human Settlements Minister Connie September so angry that she asked the Estate Agency Affairs Board to urgently investigate this trend.

What’s the point, some may ask. Why target only the formal estate agency sector when many people who refuse to rent to other races are not registered, qualified agents, but ordinary landlords?

It’s time for those agents who accept racist landlords and bow to their wishes to stand up to them.

If these agents refuse to entertain the racist, sexist and homophobic demands of their clients and remind them of our Constitution, imagine what a difference it will make to our beautiful nation.

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