A raging battle between Nothando Pike and some of her neighbours over the legality of boundary walls has taken another twist with the City of Cape Town reluctantly committing to help (“Hitting a wall”, Vukani, April 27).
The City says the houses belong to Cape Town Housing Board and it is therefore not at liberty to intervene or enforce the law until the homes are transferred to the tenants.
Mayoral committee member for area central, Siyabulela Mamkeli, said an inspection of the site had been conducted, and it showed “there has been a transgression”.
He said notices would be served on the owners, and hopefully that would sort out all the problems for Ms Pike.
“The development management department will serve a notice on owners of the properties. However, it is more difficult when the transfer of properties has not yet taken place,” he said, dismissing any claims or speculation that the matter was not dealt with expeditiously because it was in the township.
He added that the process might take longer than usual because the transfer had not yet taken place. Mr Mamkeli appealed to residents to respect the law.
He said inspectors regularly engaged with people about national building regulations but there was limited co-operation and that often led to “long and expensive litigation” processes.
He appealed to the community of Luyolo to also raise the matter with Cape Town Housing Board.
Faizel Moos, marketing and client services manager for Cape Town Community Housing Company (CTCHC) property – the company that built the houses – said they were aware of the challenges in the community and problems faced by Ms Pike. However, he said, they could not help “under the current circumstances”.
“Many of the Luyoloville clients in protests have jointly defaulted on their financial commitment to CTCHC and subsequently the houses were repossessed,” he said, adding that Ms Pike was no exception.
He said the beneficiaries were expected to pay instalments until the properties were paid up. “Nothando bought the property through an instalment purchase agreement back in 2004. She received financial assistance through the Government Housing Institutional Subsidy. The balance of the purchase price was borrowed to her by CTCHC and she would pay instalments until paid up,” he said.
“The last payment that she made was in November 2004. The account was opened in April 2004. She has been living in the house and not paying a cent for more than 12 years. This house has been repossessed. It is not her house.”
However, Ms Pike has defended herself, claiming the company took advantage of the Luyolo beneficiaries. She said most of the houses were in an “appalling” state as a result of “poor workmanship”. She said they had raised their concerns with the company immediately after moving in, but the company would not take them seriously. “We had to fix the damages out of our own pockets,” she said.
“As I speak to you my house still has leaks and the walls are moist. They cannot claim I owe them money. They owe me money for the repairs I had to do.”