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No rent, no services

RENT ISSUE: Mr Marlon Pillay speaks to Jonathan Constable during a rent related issue.

“IF they don’t pay rent, then I cannot fix the problems pertaining to the house because this is my livelihood.

“The plumbing problems are a burst water pipe which was maliciously damaged on July 23. I have pictorial evidence of it. There is also a blocked sewer pipe which became blocked because newspaper was used as toilet paper and sanitary pads and nappies were dumped into the toilets. The electrical problem is due to an illegal connection after City Power disconnected the electricity twice.”

These are the words of landlord and property owner Marlon Pillay who is adamant no services will be rendered to the property if the tenants do not pay rent.

A three-month battle over rent has tenants occupying Pillay’s property in Daisy Street, Rosettenville, and Pillay butting heads.

Also Read: No services, no rent in ‘hijacked house’ case

According to Pillay, tenants stopped paying their rent on July 5, on the advice of members of the EFF. Pillay met with the COURIER on September 7 to state his case and said he wanted to set the record straight.

Pillay, who has proven in documents that he is the rightful owner of the property, has for the past three months not received a cent from the tenants. He says nothing can be fixed if the tenants do not pay for services.

For four years, Pillay has paid both the electricity and water bills for the property. “I don’t understand why the same tenants, who have lived here and paid rent for four years, now all of sudden do not want to pay rent. Eighteen of the 24 tenants have been here since I bought the property in 2013. We never had a problem.

“We also had a meeting with the tenants on July 30 and we all agreed that I will accept a month and a half’s rent on August 5 and on September 5, which would then make up for the arrears.”

Pillay forwarded minutes of said meeting to the COURIER.

He continued: “This was after an agreement was reached at the Johannesburg Cluster House Hijacking Unit, headed up by Colonel Mashego. The tenants were even transported to the meeting in two SAPS Ford Sedans, because they said they did not have transport. However, tenants still chose not to pay.”

Pillay also told the COURIER that it did not make sense to him that the so-called “National Immigrants Council of South Africa (NICSA), whose deputy director, Jonathan Constable, had appeared in court and had been arrested and imprisoned before for criminal activities, needed to investigate a dispute between property owner and tenants.”

Pillay stated that he had also enquired about the authenticity of NICSA at National level, and said that nobody had heard of it. He stated that when he asked Constable, on 5 September at a gathering which included EFF Members, NICSA officials and Constable, JMPD Police Officers and two COURIER reporters, how an Immigrants Council could be established under the Labour Relations Act (Act 66 of 1995), Constable became highly aggressive and had to be restrained from assaulting him.

“It was reported on 15 August by the Southern COURIER that NICSA operated under Act 66 of 1995 according to Constable, which is the Labour Relations Act.”

In the meantime, Pillay has been sent from one department to the next, from one SAPS station to the next. According to Pillay he has consulted with and met senior officers of the Hawks, SAPS Booysens, SAPS Moffatview, the Johannesburg Cluster House Hijacking Unit in SAPS Johannesburg Central, the City of Johannesburg House Hijacking Unit and the Johannesburg Rental Housing Tribunal in an effort to find some recourse to the alleged situation.

He has also spoken to the local councillor for the area, the MEC for Housing, and written to the Executive Mayor and the leader of the EFF, Julius Malema, in order to resolve this impasse.

Despite all of these efforts, he has still not received rent for three months. After being sent back and forth between different police stations and metro departments – nine departments and stations in total – and meeting 21 people to try and solve the matter, the City of Joburg’s Rental Housing Tribunal called a tribunal which was held on August 22.

“All tenants were subpoenaed to appear at the hearing but none of them did. The tribunal ruled in my favour and yet, the tenants are still illegally occupying my property,” Pillay said.

He stated that this was because the urgent order of the Tribunal which ordered the tenants to pay their rent, as instructed by the Tribunal’s Chairperson on 22 August, had not been served on the tenants as yet.

Pillay is adamant he will not pay for the water and electricity consumption if the tenants do not pay their rent and on August 4 requested these services be cut completed. Services have still not been cut off, however, and Pillay has indicated that the water account now stands at R11 134.09 – for two months. He is adamant that he will not be paying for this. “Since they are not paying rent, they are illegal occupants of a property I am the rightful owner of,” he said.

Pillay claims some of the property was damaged because of negligence by the tenants on the property. “They are complaining about a blocked sewer. In June alone, I had it fixed on four occasions. I have the plumber’s invoices to prove this. The plumber found sanitary pads, nappies and newspaper to be the cause of the blocked drains.”

No payment had been made to Pillay by September 7.

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  AUTHOR
Gopolang Chawane

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