City of Cape Town concerned over fall in rent pay, owed R639m
According to the City, the non-payment rate for April 2020 was as low as 19% compared to 27% in February and 24% in March.
Human Settlements mayoral committee member Malusi Booi said: “Rental income helps to pay for maintenance, so you can imagine the impact it has when our low payment rate falls lower.
“Housing offices have been closed since the national lockdown commenced in March. Apart from the economic impact on our tenants, the closure of offices also made payments difficult. There are major frustrations experienced by the City and tenants at present, which is understandable.”
Booi said other factors included the worsening economic climate, unemployment and those who simply refuse to pay. Currently, the City is owed R639 million in rent.
According to a report by the Department of Human Settlements, it has been years since an eviction order was granted by a court of law for non-payment of rent.
“It is becoming very difficult to secure eviction orders for any contravention of the agreement of lease. The economic turn and high unemployment rate factors into the decision when magistrates have to adjudicate over eviction matters for non-payment of rent. The same applies to matters of anti-social behaviour (drug dealing/shebeening) and unlawful occupation. Recent judgments suggest that the City is doing everything to change the behaviour before submitting applications to courts for eviction orders,” the report stated.
The City has also reported incidents of vandalism and theft at its housing offices in certain areas such as Hout Bay, Parkwood, Macassar and Mfuleni.
“Cable theft leaves offices without connectivity for weeks and months which impacts operations negatively and increase administrative backlogs. Due to gang violence and criminal activity, many areas in the City have become no-go zones or can only be visited if/when accompanied by law enforcement agencies,” the City said.
Booi added: “The City has spared no effort to ensure that tenants pay their rent. Those who are in financial difficulties must approach us. Hoping that the debt will go away or ignoring the problem is not the answer and there is help on offer.”@MarvinCharles17