From THEDAILYMAVERICK by STEPHEN GROOTES – a property nightmare unfolding quietly (they hope!) has major implications for property owners and Municipalities in South Africa and underscores the need for for politicians and governments to rethink the idea of providing housing to all and rather focusing on providing the infrastructure and climate for growth needed to foster entrepreneurial and employment opportunities and let people decide themselves where an how they live. Like the tongue in cheek portrayal of squatter problems in the movie District 9 we live in evolving cities where every move and countermove is contested and nothing is as straight forward as it seems!
The tension between the rights of property owners and those with no property at all pretty much defines South Africa. It’s at the nub of so many things, from arguments about race to economic policy and even the ANC Youth League’s call for mine nationalisation. But nowhere is it as stark as when cases about evictions, councils and property owners come to court. A decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal on Wednesday has moved responsibility from property owners to the ‘court’ of the City of Joburg. Needless to say, the city is deeply unhappy.
Ask any landlord and they’ll tell you their greatest fear is what will happen if they cannot get a tenant to move out. Often they refuse to leave, many times they refuse to pay. You get caught in a vice. You have a property to pay off, no money coming in and a tenant who contributes nothing. In some cases the property is badly damaged, in others, the tenants are not the people who the landlord actually let the property to in the first place.