Hillary: Informal tenants left stranded after ‘swift’ eviction

MORE than 80 families, including children, have occupied the derelict Hillary Scouts Hall on Bayswater Road after they were moved out of a run down private property they had freely stayed in for years.

Also read: Forceful eviction leaves 30 homeless

According to the occupants, before the property was run down, they were renting but due to the fact that there were many fires caused by an electrical fault, the homeowner disappeared and they stayed on the property rent free.

Residents said they cannot afford to find homes to rent as they had stayed on Heathcote Road between Chatsworth and Queensburgh without having to pay rent.

According to ward 65 Councillor, Samantha Windvogel, the tenants stayed illegally on private property and were served with eviction notices two years ago.

“They were notified in advance about the eviction and should have made necessary arrangements to move,” she said.

According to Windvogel the people were moved into the hall by ANC PR Councillor, Lindiwe Mthembu, a move she said the City manager, Sipho Nzuza, knew nothing about.

The hall was built in 1957 and was previously occupied by the Hillary scout group but was closed down years back for safety reasons.

“It is not safe for the tenants to be there; the building could collapse while they are in it and who will be held responsible for their injuries or loss of life,” said Windvogel.

According to Councillor Mthembu, she placed the people in the hall only for a day and told them that they will have to look for alternative residence.

“I was called to the scene when the tenants were being moved and I had to think of a temporary place for them and the scout hall was the only available place,” she said.

The hall has a ceiling that is falling apart, windows and doors that are broken and no working toilets. The people share this open plan building with beds filling the hall and a few cupboards dividing each sleeping space.

Two portable toilets were situated near the entrance to the hall which contribute to the stench experienced when one approaches the hall.

The tenants are desperate and seek help from the councillor to find a suitable place for them to live.

 

 

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  AUTHOR
Khethukuthula Lembethe-Xulu

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