Communicare forging ahead with redevelopment despite resistance
Cape Town - Communicare is forging ahead with its planned redevelopment of one of its properties, Welverdiend in Rondebosch, in the face of resistance and possible court action from a number of tenants who have yet to be convinced to relocate.
In a statement issued yesterday, Communicare said: “There are 59 tenants who have successfully moved to other accommodation. There are 39 tenants currently living at Welverdiend with 18 scheduled to relocate soon. That leaves 21 tenants who have yet to make a decision.
“Communicare is currently engaging with tenants who haven’t yet taken up alternative accommodation offered at no extra costs. Should Communicare’s offer be rejected, the organisation will have no option but to cancel lease agreements and issue a notice to vacate within the next six months,” said the statement.
However, Communicare tenant beneficiary representative Neville Petersen said: “The tenant beneficiaries will legally oppose the cancellation of their leases once they receive the notices from Communicare.
“We as the Communicare tenant beneficiaries do not regard this as progress, but rather a senseless disaster for social housing in the Rondebosch and Newlands areas.”
During a media briefing on the issue, Communicare’s general manager for property development and investment, Thabo Mashologu, said: “This is the last resort since tenants have had more than a year to consider the attractive offers of alternative accommodation.
“We have also extended the generous offer to pay for all relocation costs for tenants who opt to move. Some tenants are reluctant to move due to the disruption of relocating from Rondebosch, while others feel that Communicare should not demolish the building.”
Since the Welverdiend building is older than 60 years, it automatically triggers a heritage impact assessment (HIA) to determine the heritage value of the building. An independent heritage consultant was appointed to undertake the assessment. The HIA allows interested and affected parties the opportunity to raise any objections of a heritage nature to the building being demolished, based on its heritage value.
Mashologu said: “On Thursday this week we will run an advertisement to commence the statutory comments and appeals process from the public.”
“Any person wishing to object or comment on heritage grounds to the application must make such comment or objection in writing on or before February 25, 2021. Objections or comments that are not made on heritage grounds will not be considered,” said Mashologu.
Meanwhile, members of the Welverdiend Communicare tenant beneficiaries committee claim that Communicare has reneged on a mediation process facilitated by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
Committee members Anele Zwelonke, Berenice White, Michael Fisher and James Engelbrecht said in a statement: “SAHRC adjourned the mediation process at Welverdiend at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown with the understanding and agreement by the tenants and Communicare to reconvene the mediation process after the lockdown has been lifted.”