Tenants facing rent increase hold vigil
Cape Town -In a bid to remain in a place they have called home for years, residents of a block of flats on De Waal Drive held a vigil on Monday night to show a united front.
The residents lined the street in front of the flats that have been earmarked for an upgrade that would mean a rent increase for the tenants, some of whom have been living in the area for more than 60 years.
Resident Tony Johnson said he had been living in the flats for 35 years and decided to call for the vigil to keep up the morale of residents.
“The people are feeling down because of this and the fight between us and the government is really slow and we are not getting much from government. But by doing this we want to hold the community as one, we don’t want them to go their separate ways and end up losing faith.”
Johnson said he came up with the idea on Monday morning and by the afternoon decided to go knocking on doors to get members of the community to join in the vigil.
Johnson added that the plan was to move them to Pelican Park. Another resident, Riedwaan Galvaan, said he has been to the area and said the houses there are very small by comparison.
“We don’t want to be pushed around anymore. Most of the people that live here are from District Six and they were part of the forced removals then and they will not be moved again.”
Galvaan added that the “government was using scare tactics” on the residents as a way to force them to move.
Galvaan claimed that the Western Cape department of Human Settlements told them that the area was going to be upgraded and the rent would be between R4 000 up to R6 000 per month.
Another resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said he had been living in the area for 22 years and said their families would be affected if they had to move.
Previously, Zalisile Mbali, spokesman for MEC for human settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela, had denied claims that residents would be forcibly removed.
He said there was also no plan to sell the complex off to a developer but added that government wanted to rent out the flats to economically active people wanting to live close to the CBD.