No services, no rent in ‘hijacked house’ case

MAIN PHOTO BLOWOUT: Tenants demand better living conditions.

THREATS of a war and malicious damage to property have been made pertaining to a ‘hijacked house’ in the south of Johannesburg.

Rosettenville residents of a property on Daisy Street claim their landlord may be withholding the truth about details of the property they are renting to the public.

The frustrated residents met with the COURIER on Thursday, August 24 to tell their side of the story in this ongoing feud.

REVOLT: Tenants demand better services.Photo: Lucky Thusi

An ongoing dispute between the landlord Marlon Pillay, his tenants and a man named Jonathan Constable has resulted in tenants refusing to pay their rent since July 5.

The tenants claim the unsightly image and living conditions of the property have come to an unbearable point. They said they were sick and tired of the lies and treatment they received from the landlord and his children who collected the rent.

They claim the issue started because of a power outage at the premises. The residents said they went to Pillay to lodge a complaint about the unexplained blackout.

Treatment from Pillay was shocking the residents said. They said he, alongside his daughter and son-in-law often ill-treated them.

They attributed the reason for not paying rent to the fact that they could not bear living in a hazardous place.

During a tour of the premises, they told the COURIER how most of the electricity was bridged. They explained how no one could go up to the ceiling to inspect electrical cables – in the case of a power outage – as they could potentially be electrocuted. One of the residents – known as Patricia – claimed residents were subjected to electrical surges when hanging washing on the line.

FLOODING: One of the drainage pipes is said to have a constant leakage.

Constable, who also toured of the house, said there were queries regarding the house.

He said a portion of the property evidently did not undergo legal processes to have its building plans approved. This was different to the initial issue of how the house was obtained.

“These are some of the many questions,” he said.

Constable and residents took the COURIER through a dark alley where some of the rooms seem to be positioned. Both the residents and Constable told the COURIER that an old basement parking area had been turned into rooms.

The plans to these had allegedly not been approved.

Residents said they wanted to be treated like decent people and said they were tired of being treated like savages at the hands of Pillay, his daughter and his son-in-law.

One of the showers covered with a board for tenants not to be seen while showering.

Pillay who had previously told the COURIER that Constable was demanding rent from the tenants, was corrected by residents who denied making any payments to Constable.

Residents said Constable was the only person taking their grievances seriously.

Pillay said he wanted the residents to vacate his property since they were not planning to pay rent.

He mentioned that he had sought help from the housing tribunal to evict the residents.

Asked if there was a way forward, he said there was not.

Pillay said most allegations made against him were groundless and were a ploy by the residents to seek favour from others.

He confirmed there was a faulty transformer which he found in July and that he had reported the problem to City Power.

HEAD TO HEAD: Mr Marlon Pillay has a word with Jonathan Pillay. Photo: Lucky Thusi

The plot thickened as residents claimed they even had numerous visits from JMPD and members of SAPS. The visits took place in July. Residents also claimed they were intimidated.

Residents further claimed they were forced into a truck to be intimidated at a police station close-by. These allegations are being investigated by the COURIER. The name of the station will be withheld until the station has had time to reply to the allegation.

Pillay, however, disputed this allegation and said he knows nothing about police coming to his property to search tenants. He said the tenants went to a nearby police station after a mutual agreement between the tenants and police to discuss their issues.

“The tenants did not have transport so the police station provided a truck to fetch them and take them to the station. There was full consent from the residents,” he said.

In earlier reports, Pillay claimed that Constable and Gladys Mbangi had hijacked his premises. Mbangi, Constable and EFF member Joseph ‘Nico’ Malele all dismissed the allegation. They alleged money was changing hands between Pillay and law enforcement, and according to them, this was apparent in the number of officers who had mysteriously made trips to the house in July.

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  AUTHOR
Gopolang Chawane

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