Pretoria - A Tshwane councillor has been fingered in the illegal leasing of a flat in Silverton, which culminated with a family of four spending two nights and three days roofless after being forcefully evicted.
Irene Kock, who lived with her three boys aged 15,16 and 21, could hardly contain her tears when she related the incident to the Pretoria News. She was still trying to salvage her belongings which were thrown out of the flat.
According to Kock, she moved into the flat behind Silverwater Crossing in February after the councillor’s husband, who she worked with, offered to lease the place out to her for R3000 a month. The Pretoria News has withheld the name of the councillor.
“To my knowledge they (councillor and her husband) had been living at the flat in Silverton,” she said.
Everything seemed to be above board, but Kock admitted that she should have seen the red flags - first she was not given a contract to sign and every time she inquired about it, she was told it was still being drawn up. Second, she was also told to pay the R3000 cash and not deposit it into a bank account. “When I probed that as well I was told they were avoiding tax,” she said.
Desperate and naive, Kock, who was renting in Mamelodi at the time, had a verbal agreement with the couple and relocated to her new home. “We had a fairly good stay, paid R3000 including water and lights and our flat was near Silverwater Crossing, not too far from my children’s school in Eersterust,” she said.
But three weeks ago the Department of Housing and Human Settlements representatives went for an inspection after foul play was suspected. “Three men who introduced themselves as William, Steven and Alpha asked me what I was doing there. I told them I was renting the place from a councillor. They told me that according to records the flat was vacant and no one was supposed to be renting it,” she said.
She was told to apply at the municipal offices to occupy the flat, but in the interim she was allowed to stay.
When Kock relayed the message to her landlords, they were livid and started giving her hassles. On Saturday while Kock was at work she received a call from her two boys begging her to come home because they were being evicted by “10 big men”.
“I immediately lost it, and couldn’t stand the sound of my babies crying,” she said. Kock finally arrived home to find all her belongings lying in the garden outside and R4000 worth of school fees money missing.
“All of my life including my beds, TV, food, and children was crumbled up and loosely thrown on the ground,” she said.
The family spent two nights in the garden with barely anything to eat. Their plight first came to light following a Facebook post on Saturday.
They had been living on handouts from the community.
Kock couldn’t even go to work because she was stuck with her living arrangements. “I’ve been getting threatening messages from the councillor ever since the eviction, saying that we are trying to blemish her name,” she said.
When the Pretoria News tried to contact the councillor on numerous occasions, her phone was off.
Community leader Novina Pillay appealed to the City of Tshwane to bring to book the “corrupt” councillor. Pillay and Kock were scheduled to meet MMC for Housing and Human Settlements Sello Maimane today to discuss the matter.