Frustrated tenants, backyarders and people living in informal settlements across the City called for speedy government intervention and delivery of housing opportunities, accusing Communicare of costly rentals.
Disgruntled residents from different areas across Cape Town marched to the provincial legislature yesterday against social housing company Communicare, claiming the company was charging them high rentals.

They claimed the company was not maintaining their properties and there were poor managing practices.

Communicare said they were “continuing our engagements with tenants in the coming months”.

Part of the group included backyarders and people living in informal settlements, who said their grievances included lack of water, sanitation, electricity and waste removal.

Backyarders demanded better housing opportunities and a fair share of Human Settlements’ housing programme.

Pensioner Nobuzwe Martins said Communicare was charging her more than R2000 in rent even though she was only getting the R1680 grant.

“It is just not fair because all the money, which is my only source of income, goes to rent and I am left with nothing for food and other necessities. Every year rent is increased by 10%. Where are they expecting us to get this money from? Government officials must intervene,” said Martins.

Ayanda Mpanga, who lives in the newly established Ramaphosa informal settlement in Philippi, said: “Government needs to provide us with basic services, especially water, toilets and electricity.”

Provincial Human Settlements head Thando Mguli received the memorandum and said he would study it before getting back to the communities.

“We, as the organ of the state, have done everything humanly possible to respond as urgently as possible to the cries of the backyarders. We are busy doing purchases of land where we will be providing houses to people who are living in backyards.”

Mguli said the department will engage with the national government to respond to issues related to Communicare.

Communicare said they had been engaging with all tenants and various community groups “over the last two months regarding our 2018 rent increases and other initiatives taking place”.

“Many of our tenants have expressed the need for further engagement on a variety of matters such as rentals, maintenance and the terms of their leases.

"We heard that some of the people involved in the march were Communicare tenants and respect their right to make their voices heard in the public domain. We await feedback from the legislature about any matters involving us that have been brought to their attention.”