Fed-up Communicare tenants head to High Court

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Fed up residents of social housing giant Communicare have decided to take their plight to the Western Cape High Court
Fed up residents of social housing giant Communicare have decided to take their plight to the Western Cape High Court
Marvin Charles
  • Over 500 tenants from Communicare’s Ruyterwacht housing project have accused Communicare of unlawful evictions.
  • They also say their rent has been raised by an astronomical amount. 
  • The case was heard before Judge Patrick Gamble at the High Court on Thursday, with the legal representatives for the tenants asked Gamble for a postponement.

Angry residents of social housing giant Communicare have taken their plight to the Western Cape High Court. Over 500 tenants from Communicare’s Ruyterwacht housing project have accused Communicare of unlawful evictions, and raising the rent to an astronomical amount.

When the matter came before Judge Patrick Gamble at the High Court on Thursday, the legal representatives for the tenants asked Gamble for a postponement.

This was so that a similar matter involving tenants from the Albatros rental complex in Thornton could join the case.

Gamble granted the postponement to 12 March.

Advocate Thando Dondolo told News24: 

We took on this case on the basis that our people have been struggling, we saw a lot of mistreatment of tenants especially in the cases involving evictions which are heard in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court. They did not make any effort to assist tenants.

In a notice of motion filed by the Ruyterwacht Community Association they have accused Communicare of forcing and threatening and increasing rent to market level, claiming that the economic conditions have worsened.

They want the court to declare the increase as unlawful and set it aside.

They also want the chairperson and members of the board and senior staff of Communicare to be suspended, and the institution to be placed under administration.

Residents of Ruyterwacht picketed outside the High Court, holding up banners calling for evictions to be stopped.

The association’s Mandisa Zamile said: “The majority of residents in the area are facing evictions and we have refused for the rent to be increased because they have a social housing mandate that they need to stick to. We have families sleeping in cars because they were evicted.”

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Legal representative for Communicare Advocate Abubakr Lawrence said Communicare will oppose the case.

“There is a similar matter that will be heard in March, we asked that the matter is [sic] postponed so that both matters can be heard. The relief sought from the applicants is wide ranging from the suspension of directors, to transfers and an investigation to be initiated.”

Communicare spokesperson Megan Lennert said: "The applicants are seeking to intervene with the day-to-day running of Communicare NPC and its subsidiaries. We don’t believe there is legal merit for the application and we are confident that the Court will find in our favour and put an end to the legal challenge advanced by this group."


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