Johannesburg - Friendship Town, a R65 million middle-income estate in Tembisa, consisting of 266 flats and 360 free-standing bonded houses, was hijacked by a group of disgruntled tenants who were evicted for non-payment of rent.
Following two riots over the evictions in the past month, the managing agents of the flats, Ithemba, its employees and including security staff have been chased off the premises.
Several times, residents have blockaded the entrance, preventing the flat owners and tenants from entering or leaving the estate.
Rian Reyneke from Ithemba said the problems started in August when they obtained an eviction order against four tenants who were not paying rent. The aggrieved tenants then started lobbying others not to pay, telling them they were being overcharged and that the flats had been donated to local residents by the Chinese government.
After the eviction, residents went on the rampage, burning down offices, burning tyres, and threatening tenants with violence if they paid their rent.