‘ I’ve been staying here so long. Where must I go?’
A Malabar mother of two is desperately fighting to keep the RDP house she has rented for the past three years, digging in her heels and refusing to move out despite attempts by her landlord to evict her.
The landlord, although not yet the registered owner of erf 2119 in Extension 6, Malabar, obtained an eviction order in November against tenant Mandy Singh’s boyfriend – who has long since moved out – but Singh is refusing to budge.
The matter highlights, not only loopholes in the city’s allocation of RDP houses, but a major problem of some beneficiaries abusing the system for financial gain.
The law prohibits the sale of an RDP house within the first eight years of getting it and also forbids the rental of a house if the registered beneficiary does not also reside on the property, according to provincial Human Settlements Department spokesman Lwandile Sicwetsha.
He said government had recently launched a campaign to check if the registered beneficiaries were residing in their properties.
Erf 2119 was allocated to a Mr and Mrs Davids in 2004, but they did not want the house and continued living in an informal settlement.
The landlord, Desiree McCarthy, moved on to the premises in 2006 as she remained on the municipality’s housing waiting list.
In 2011, Singh said she moved into the house, which was rented out to her boyfriend at the time, and when he moved out, she took over the R800-a-month rental payments to McCarthy.
“On May 28 2013 was the first time that [McCarthy] asked me to move out.
“I went to the ward councillor, Shirley Sauls, and she checked on the list and saw that the house belonged to [the Davids], not McCarthy.
“Not long afterwards two policemen came to the house looking for my boyfriend – he had already moved out – to say he must appear in court.
“When he appeared in court, his lawyer didn’t turn up and McCarthy got the eviction letter in October 2014 to kick him out,” Singh said.
Despite the eviction notice against her boyfriend, Singh refused to move out. Two weeks after her second child was born – a week before Christmas last year – a sheriff of the court, policemen and a locksmith arrived at the house wanting to evict her.
She was in contact with her legal aid attorneys who managed to stop the forced eviction at the time. She said her lawyer had since advised her to find another place to stay.
“I’ve been staying here for so long, so where must I go? The municipality has said previously that the house was registered to the Davids couple, so why are they choosing to give the house to McCarthy and not me?”
In a letter to an attorney, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s human settlements head, Lindile Petuna, wrote: “Erf 2119 was erroneously registered into the name of R and P H Davids. The correct beneficiary for erf 2119, Malabar, is D McCarthy.
“Kindly proceed with a rectification transfer from Davids to McCarthy … ”
The McCarthy family referred all questions to their attorney, Shaun Masimla, who did not respond to calls or messages yesterday.
Municipal spokesman Roland Williams said the metro was dealing with the matter.
– Rochelle de Kock