UDM helps 72 tenants threatened with legal action by Eastern Cape Public Works
Honourable Premier Mabuyane
IMMORAL EVICTIONS: MISTREATMENT OF ORDINARY SOUTH AFRICANS BY THE EASTERN CAPE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS WHICH ADMINISTERS PROPERTIES IN WHICH THEY RESIDE (MTHATHA)
1. I was recently approached by a anxious group of persons who have organised themselves under the banner of the Democratic Housing Tenants Association (DHTA) which consists of 72 tenants, all of whom reside in properties, in Mthatha, administered by the Eastern Cape Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) and the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC).
2. I understand that many of the aforementioned tenants have occupied these properties for a minimum of ten years, and up to 35 years in some cases. It is alleged that, since 1994, these buildings have not been maintained by the DPWI/ECDC, aside from the repairs the tenants had done at their own expense. By all accounts this seems to be true.
3. Numerous meetings with the DPWI, as far back as 2001, have apparently taken place where discussions were held regarding the opportunity for the tenants to purchase the houses they have been occupying (and paying rent for) for so many years. Seemingly, despite various DPWI commitments, none of the problems were addressed.
4. I have been informed that discussions around the purchasing of these properties with your special advisor, Mr Zandisile Qupe, on 30 June 2019, who undertook to find speedy resolution to the matter, was for naught as these tenants out of the blue received notices of motion of eviction proceedings in early July 2020. Worse still is that this unnecessary and unconscionable legal action is happening at a time of so much insecurity and fear due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
5. DHTA requested a meeting with your Public Works MEC, Mr Babalo Madikizela, which took place on 25 June 2020. Apparently, although departmental officials had rightfully been present, for some inexplicable reason, the African National Congress (ANC) OR Tambo Regional Secretary and members of the ANC Youth League, were also in attendance and the objections to their presence were ignored.
Apparently, no resolution had been found at the end of that meeting and Public Works MEC Madikizela had also instructed the departmental officials to engage with DHTA within two weeks of that meeting, which has to date not occurred.
6. This story is rife with allegations of years’ long mistreatment of South Africans at the hand of the Eastern Cape government, whilst this community did their utmost to find a mutually beneficial recourse in the matter. The fact that it now also seems to be laced with politics is totally unacceptable and should be investigated.
7. I therefore now propose that you immediately involve the national Department of Public Works in the matter to assure some degree of impartiality and lack of prejudice towards ordinary South Africans in a time where their lives are already adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.