MANOR Flats and Willow Garden flats tenants picketed outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall demanding that the municipality write off their municipal debt last Wednesday. There are about 200 flats in Manor and Willow and residents have started a petition that has already gained more than 300 signatures. Led by the KZN Democratic Alliance deputy leader, Mergan Chetty, tenants submitted a letter of demands to Msunduzi Municipality, and it was accepted and signed by Kwenza Khumalo, the senior manager on behalf of Mayor Themba Njilo, who they were told, was in a full council meeting.In the letter, which Maritzburg Fever has a copy of, tenants want the municipality to transfer ownership of the flats from council to tenants, hand over title deeds to tenants and for the municipality to immediately instruct officials to desist from harassing and threatening them with eviction and electricity disconnection while the petition is being addressed. Tenants claim it has been more than 10 years since they were promised the flats will be transferred to their ownership.The tenants said they are giving the municipality 21 days from the time they handed over the letter, to make a decision.They vowed that if the municipality rejects their demands they will take the matter to the provincial and national government. Denise Fynn, who lives in Manor Flats said they are not angry or frustrated, they just want the title deeds.“I have lived here for 17 years and am paying for the historical debt and electricity. Last week we were threatened that if don’t sign the flat lease we will be evicted or they will disconnect our electricity even if it is up to date.“Who needs to sign a lease when we have lived here for so many years?” When the tenants arrived at the city hall demanding that the mayor come out and accept their letter of demands, eggs were thrown at them from the top of the city hall, which made them angry and they wanted to enter the building, but police stopped them. Chetty told Maritzburg Fever the tenants have been always told they will get flats for free.“It has now came to a point where residents say ‘enough is enough’. This council took a decision to give R30 million to Maritzburg United last month and R3 million for the jazz festival, [all this] while residents are struggling.“It is unfair. There are third generations living there with the historical debt. We have asked council to write off their debt because they have the right of the debt policy, but they fail to implement it because it does not benefit them,” he said.Chetty also said the municipality tried to stop them from picketing by rejecting their application at the last minute.“They told us we cannot picket because they have other events to cater for, but we were surprised to find the SAPS and traffic officers waiting for us.”Comment from Msunduzi Municipality was not forthcoming at the time of going to press.