PROTEST: Tenants of Communicare have said the organisation had lost the plot, following a recent ruling labelling rent increases as 'exploitive and exorbitant' Picture: Marvin Charles/Cape Argus
Cape Town - Tenants of social housing giant Communicare have said the organisation had lost the plot.

This after a recent ruling by the Rental Tribunal that said the social housing organisation’s increases were exploitive and exorbitant.

“The tribunal’s decision is an indication that Communicare has lost the plot and its purpose in providing affordable social housing in the Western Cape.

“It is evident from the tribunal’s ruling that Anthea Houston, the chief executive of Good Find Properties, has no social housing plan to accommodate the vulnerable in our society, namely the elderly, pensioners and those who are dependant on state grants,” said Neville Petersen, the spokesperson of Foundation Community Development.

Petersen said the restructuring of Communicare from an NGO to a profit enterprise by transferring their rental stock to a private entity was totally contrary to the vision and purpose of their funding partners, namely The City of Cape Town, and the provincial and national departments of Human Settlements.

“Houston’s restructuring model includes offering pensioner tenants R1500 so they vacate their residences so they can be rehired for profit to persons in higher income brackets. The pensioners will be forcefully moved to old age homes that are already overcrowded, underfunded and have poor service levels,” Petersen said.

Last week, Communicare was ordered to scrap the rent arrears of a resident from Ruyterwacht after he took them to the Rental Housing Tribunal.

John Adams, 59, who was on the verge of being evicted by Communicare after it took him to court, suffered a stroke before he could hear the tribunal’s verdict, and is in hospital.

Adams is a disabled Sassa grant recipient who has been renting from Communicare since 1998. He argued that his 2010 tribunal complaint about the high rent was interrupted by the court proceedings Communicare instituted against him for failing to pay his rent.

The tribunal ruled that Communicare must write off all the arrears from 2010.

“The unfair practices are to be discontinued and the annual increases to be recalculated,” the tribunal ruled.

Anthea Houston, the chief executive of Communicare said: “It is never our intention to increase rentals to unfairly profiteer while leaving people destitute. This is not what we stand for. Profit is not our motive. All rental increases are in line with the provisions in the lease agreement, and are within the law. We do so with compassion and understanding, and no tenant is ever unfairly removed.”


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Cape Argus