Communicare says 10 of its tenants, including one from Brooklyn, have accepted its offer to move out of their rental units in exchange for cash.
According to Communicare CEO Anthea Houston, the cash incentives were offered to about half of its tenants, to people of all ages. Last month, the Communicare tenants received letters from the social-housing company, offering them money if they gave notice to move out at the end of July (“Tenants paid to leave,” Tabletalk, June 13 ).
“This incentive was available to them, entirely voluntarily, if they chose to give notice at the end of June,” said Ms Houston.
She said Communicare knew the circumstances of some families might have improved considerably since they first became tenants many years ago.
“Today, these tenants may have other options and wish to move on to give another family the opportunity of the discounted rental that they enjoyed. No one was forced to take an incentive,” said Ms Houston.
Tenants who could not afford annual rent hikes, she said, could ask for discounts or to be moved to cheaper units.
“Any units vacated as part of the incentive programme may be considered as an option for those tenants who request to relocate. The units will also be put up for rent to the public,” she said.
But at last week’s Brooklyn Ysterplaat Rugby Ratepayers’ Association (BYRRA) meeting, residents raised concerns about Communicare’s “cash incentives” and how they would affect the area.
“They (Communicare) are trying to entice the poor people to take the money. Masses want to move in. It’s market-related and it’s going to severely impact the community,” said one resident.
Another said that a few thousand rand was not a lot of money but to someone living on the breadline it was a lot.
“If they take it, they’re not seeing the bigger picture.”
Residents wanted Communicare’s representatives to come to a BYRRA meeting and hear the “public’s voices”.
BYRRA chairman Justin Kumlehn refrained from commenting on the Communicare issue, saying he wanted “a sound legal opinion” before doing so.
“Communicare is a private entity and not government related. We cannot get involved due to possible law suits,” said Mr Kumlehn.
He said he would invite Communicare to BYRRA’s next public meeting to discuss residents’ concerns.
On Wednesday July 4, Communicare tenants across the city took to the streets opposing the cash incentives and rental increases, among other things.
The crowd marched to the provincial legislature, where they handed over a memorandum of grievances. Communicare issued a statement saying it had had no notification of the march or its purpose.
“We heard that some of the people involved in the march were
“Communicare tenants and respect their right to make their voices heard in the public domain. We await feedback from the legislature about any matters involving us that have been brought to their attention.”
The statement said Communicare was “unware of mismanagement” but encouraged anyone with evidence to come forward so that it could investigate.
Reports could be made anonymously on 0800 204 969 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org