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Scores of illegal occupants evicted at rental village in Polokwane

Security personnel and police officers evict occupants of Ga-Rena rental village in Ladanna, Polokwane. Picture: Mashudu Sadike

Security personnel and police officers evict occupants of Ga-Rena rental village in Ladanna, Polokwane. Picture: Mashudu Sadike

Published May 19, 2022

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Pretoria - Scores of residents at an embattled Limpopo complex were evicted by security personnel and the municipal police due to illegally occupying the Ga-Rena rental village in Ladanna, Polokwane on Thursday morning.

Nearly 100 security personnel and about 40 police officers flanked by officials of the Polokwane Housing Association (PHA) descended on the village with a court order to evict occupants of 117 out of 508 units who had been unlawfully living there for years with illegal electricity connections and not paying rent.

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The complex is a low-cost housing project owned by the Polokwane municipality but run by the PHA on behalf of the municipality which has been owed about R63 million by the illegal occupiers.

Residents at the village have for years been at loggerheads with the municipality over a range of issues including non-payment of electricity and rent.

Speaking to Pretoria News on Thursday PHA property manager, Robert Maetisa, said they were only being evicted because of their non-compliance and refusal to make payment.

He said: “The complex Ga-Rena rental village was hijacked in 2012 when a group of tenants gathered themselves and chased away security officers from their posts, took over the complex and allocated units. We are just not sure where these people who were allocated houses were paying the money.

“From 2018 we have been engaging with the tenants trying to ask them that those who had occupied the units without our permission must regularise themselves so that they can have the lease and start paying rent. A few regularised themselves and others refused. So we went to court last year and we obtained a court order to evict residents living in 117 units.

He added that they had failed to evict them at the time because they had made an application to rescind the court order and to interdict the process, which failed.

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“”This year in February we served them with a notice of eviction and instead of them leaving the complex they went to court for an urgent interdict which was also dismissed. So the evictions taking place now are as a result of the court order issued in July 2021,” said Maetisa.

However some of the residents dismissed Maetisa’s assertions saying that they had not received eviction notices and that the municipality had not verified their list of eviction units.

A tenant who preferred to stay anonymous complained that security officers had broken her door to evict her while she was up to date with her payments.

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The mother of two said: “They have not verified their documents because I've never been behind with my payments and I'm lucky I was home today because if I had gone to work I wouldn't have been able to show them my documents that I was legally living here. My children would have come back from school to find our belongings outside.”

In a turn of events one security personnel was found allegedly stealing a pair of shoes and a six pack of beers from one unit but managed to get away.

Maetisa said that he was aware of the incident and had tasked the security manager to look into the matter.

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Pretoria News

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