Manor residents demand lower rent

2015-04-30 16:47
Banu Vally demands to speak to the Msunduzi mayor on behalf of concerned residents outside the city hall to hand over a list of grievances.
PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

Banu Vally demands to speak to the Msunduzi mayor on behalf of concerned residents outside the city hall to hand over a list of grievances. PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

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RESIDENTS of Manor Flats in ­Pietermaritzburg protested with placards and chants last week, complaining about their increased rent and demanding ownership of their flats.

The large group of residents gathered outside the flats early in the morning, displaying painted signs conveying their grievances.

Resident Banu Vally said the flats had been her home for over 20 years and housed low-income earners.She said over the years, the rent had increased astronomically and ­residents couldn’t afford what the municipality was demanding of them.

“We want ownership of our flats or if not, affordable rent,” she said.

“The people living here are low-income earners and we cannot afford what the municipality is telling us to pay.”

The crowd marched to the city hall to hand over a memorandum to the mayor however, they were allegedly told the mayor and his deputy were unavailable.

“We handed over our memorandum to councillor Eunice Majola­ who accepted it on behalf of the mayor, saying she would hand it over to the mayor.”

Manor Flats resident of over 24 years, Wilma Bester said she and her husband had been struggling to pay rent and the rate has increased by 15% every year.

She said national housing owned the flats until 1997, then they only paid 10% of their income towards rent.

“Some people would pay R300 and others R200, it all depended on their ­salary.

“Every year since 1997, it has gone up by 15%.

“It is now around R2 000 for a three-bedroom flat and R1 800 for a two-bedroom flat.

“The people who live here are gardeners, pensioners and low-income earners and cannot afford the increases,” Bester said.

Vally said although residents had not been threatened with eviction­, those who could not pay the high rates would surely be told to leave and the community did not want that to happen.

Msunduzi Municipality did not comment at the time of going to press

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