Pretoria may evict tenants from landmark flat complex

Thousands of tenants may have to be evacuated from a landmark flatlands complex in Pretoria that has fallen on hard times.

Pretoria’s mayor, Gwen Ramokgopa, will on Monday visit the Schubart Park flat complex, which has fallen into a serious state of disrepair.

Tshwane councillor Absalom Ditshoke indicated in a statement on Sunday that the situation might necessitate evacuating tenants for repairs to be carried out.

The complex was built by the National Party regime in the 1970s, and the beautifully appointed buildings boasted a shopping complex, swimming pools, community halls and ample underground parking.

Ditshoke said that currently overcrowding and non-payment of rent have placed particular strain on the complex, of which ownership had been placed with the city.

Some flats house up to 21 people, mostly students or illegal immigrants. There is a culture of non-payment, and at least 75% of tenants are in serious arrears of R30 000 and more.

The necessary reconditioning and refurbishment might necessitate the evacuation of the buildings by the current tenants to allow the city to remedy the situation.

“Due to accelerated wear and tear caused mainly by overcrowding and vandalism, the buildings have serious problems affecting the lifts, water pump stations, firefighting equipment, electrical, water and sewer reticulation networks,” Ditshoke said.

“As a result, the infrastructure needs frequent attention and costly maintenance.

“While every effort is being made to regularly service and maintain the infrastructure, the serious overcrowding and illegal tenancy at Schubart Park and Kruger Park put undue pressure on the existing infrastructure.”

If the city decides to recondition or refurbish the buildings, all tenants will be notified in good time.

“The issue of alternative accommodation is a legal matter which, depending on the nature of and rationale for evictions, is always considered when instances of relocations arise,” said Ditshoke.

“It is not automatic that every person who rents public or private accommodation must be given alternative accommodation when they are required to vacate such rented accommodation for reasons beyond the control of the landlord.”—Sapa

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