Cape Town - Tenants renting from the City owe more than R619 million in outstanding debt as at the end of December.
Mayco member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi said: “Our particular focus remains those who have the means to pay but who simply refuse to do so.
“Factors that influence the non-payment of rental are, among others, the inability to pay as a result of the worsening economic climate, unemployment and then there are those who simply refuse to pay.
The City provides assistance to those who qualify, through the Council approved indigent benefits or assistance schemes. There is, however, no excuse for those who can afford to pay but refuse to do so.”
According to the City, 492 internal letters of demands have been issued; 327 pre summon letter of demands have been issued and 170 summons. There have been 46 evictions for debt of R3.6million.
“Rental units are located across the City from Atlantis and Strand to Ocean View and have been home to thousands of families for more than 50 years
“Tenants are required to pay their rent diligently to ensure a sustainable future for all residents,” Booi said.
He said that it places the City under pressure if tenants are unable to pay their rent.
“The basic challenge is a lack of a culture of payment among debtors
“Those who are in financial difficulties, must approach us. It is then imperative that the amount due is paid regularly, each month, to ensure that the relief granted and the arrangement made is not cancelled and to avoid debt management action being taken against them,” Booi said
Kashiefa Achmat, a member of the Housing Assembly, a social movement for more than 20 communities, said: “Some have lost their jobs, people can’t afford to pay these huge amounts. If you look into the rates that gets added to the rent, you can’t afford it.”