Inner-city tenants take plight to ANC
By Poloko Tau
Joburg's inner-city residents have turned to the ANC to save them from "abusive" building hijackers and bogus building administrators who are making their lives a misery.
Residents - mostly women - on Wednesday said high rentals were being imposed on them by "illegitimate building administrators" who often cut their services or evict those who are unable to pay rent.
About 250 disgruntled residents marched through the city centre to the ruling party's headquarters, Luthuli House, to seek "intervention and protection".
The group said they were tired of being pushed around by their "supposed landlords", who they believed were not doing things by the book.
They carried placards in which they stated their unhappiness with a number of companies managing their buildings and asked the ANC to protect them against "ruthless" building hijackers.
However, their hopes of being met by one of Luthuli House's bigwigs were dashed after they were informed that none of the ruling party's leaders were available to face them.
The head of security at Luthuli House, Bongani Zondi, accepted their memorandum on behalf of his bosses and promised to pass it on to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.
Residents from Hillbrow, Yeoville, Berea and Joubert Park have threatened to come back in large numbers if the ANC does not respond or act on their demands within 14 working days.
"We're a hundred times more than the number here today and we'll be back if nothing is heard from the ANC. I can assure you that things will turn bad if we have to be back here again," said community leader Sifiso Nkomo.
He said residents were living in filthy places while bogus administrators made a killing on high rentals, but servicing the buildings was not one of their priorities.
Another community leader, Moses ka Moyo, alleged that court officials were colluding with bogus administrators and hijackers and issued false orders for evictions and rental demands.
"If the ANC cannot handle this issue, they must send (Julius) Malema to deal with these corrupt administrators.
"We have been to the City of Joburg and knocked on many doors, and we hope the ANC will save us from these corrupt people," he said.
In their memorandum, the residents demanded that the ANC set up a task team to look into their challenges and suggested an inner-city indaba on housing-related issues, which include debt write-offs.