Tenants residing in the Dobsonville Flats have declared their intention to stage a mass protest in response to the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco) perceived threats of eviction. The tenants argue that Joshco has not treated them as valued customers and are demanding a resolution to their grievances.
Tensions escalated when tenants received letters on September 12, which they claim threatened eviction due to alleged non-payment of rent. However, the tenants disputed this, asserting that Joshco owed them money. They also raised concerns about irregularities and inconsistencies in their rental statements.
Speaking on behalf of the affected tenants, Chris Rothman expressed their frustration, stating that they were willing to pay but had received inadequate responses from Joshco. They had anticipated a meeting to address payment arrangements but had yet to receive one.
The tenants revealed that they were initially charged a monthly tariff of R2700, which was later reduced when it was discovered that they had been overcharged. This prompted questions about how they had accumulated large debts to Joshco and what would happen to the accumulated differences from previous years.
The tenants found it unfair for Joshco to threaten evictions, especially in light of the financial hardships many faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They also criticized Joshco’s failure to address service delivery issues in the flats.
Joshco countered the tenants’ claims, stating that the letters were not eviction notices but rather standard revenue and credit control rental collection notices. The company asserted that it does not have plans for mass evictions and encouraged tenants to make arrangements to settle any overdue amounts.
Furthermore, Joshco refuted allegations of overcharging, explaining that the initial city council-approved tariffs were based on unit size and maintenance costs. The reduction in tariffs was a response to tenant complaints and economic conditions, with credits applied to tenant accounts.
Tensions between the tenants and Joshco have been ongoing since 2021, with previous protests and calls for government intervention.
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Photo: Supplied by Sowetan Urban