Members of the EFF Tshwane region picketed against property management agencies in the Pretoria CBD for allegedly being inconsiderate, unfair and unjust to tenants.
The EFF targeted City Property in the CBD, Huurkor in Sunnyside, Ronmark and Mid City among others, calling a halt to rental increases for the next 12 months.
The protesters said they were concerned about the effects of Covid-19 which led to many job losses and pay cuts. Property management agencies could not continue as though it was business as usual, protesters said.
The EFF called on the agencies to provide a ‘payment holiday’ to all tenants who were unable to pay their monthly rent, for no evictions to take place during the period of lockdown and that water and electricity cuts to be stopped immediately by the agencies.
The party also called on the payment clause on any termination of contracts to be cancelled or relooked for tenants who were looking to end their leases early.
EFF Tshwane regional chairperson Moafrika Oliver said the party was fighting for people who were evicted from flats in the CBD.
He accused property management agencies of being ‘real criminals’.
“These are crooks and they should be arrested. Police are saying crime in Sunnyside is done by foreign nationals; however, crime is done by property management agencies who refuse to accept our memorandum.
“These crooks belong in jail. We will make sure our memorandum does not go into the dustbin,” he said as Huurkor Property Group’s Nicholas de Villiers accepted the memorandum.
While City Property management acknowledged the memorandum, the company said it understood that there was a problem.
City Property Administration managing director Jeffrey Wapnick said a number of property management companies, including his, had been affected by Covid-19 and its related issues.
“From the small entrepreneur to the national retail tenant. We have been approached by some tenants for rent relief and where possible, we have assisted them. We have engaged our tenants on a case-by-case basis. ”
“We have complied with the regulations set by government and implemented the necessary protocols.”
Wapnick said as the leading property management company, they welcomed the EFF’s feedback and would always engage with the communities in which they operated.
“We will study the memorandum and give it the attention it deserves.”
He said he also thanked the SAPS for their presence during the protest and ensuring a peaceful picket which did not impact upon daily operations.
This comes as Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu reiterated her call against evictions during the lockdown.
Sisulu said several housing construction projects such as the Townlands Village in Marabastad were being undertaken to provide residents with quality housing.
Sisulu said that she was happy with the progress made since construction re-opened on the Townlands Village housing which consists of 1,200 housing units.
“This project will offer residents affordable quality housing close to town. Many people who are working in the CBD spend a lot of money on transport because they cannot afford housing settlements in the CBD, but projects like this will assist our people,” she said.