The man has managed to evict some tenants while having others’ salaries garnished.
A wrangle started late last year by controversial eMalahleni businessman Themba ‘Masofa’ Sgudla to incite Dingindoda tenants to stand up and take the homes from their landlord is now getting quite worse.
A string of court papers have been sent to the tenants who have been refusing to pay rent since last year September.
Now the tenants, who say they are going nowhere, say the court papers being served are a “harassment” and wants to report it to officials at the eMalahleni local municipality.
The Dingindoda rental settlement, formally known as uThingo Park, is situated in the eMalahleni suburb of Tasbet Park and was built more than 15 years ago by government as part of addressing the housing crisis in the coal-mining dominated town of Mpumalanga.
It was built by Sgudla’s company and it has roughly 1 500 units. Later on the constructor and politicians got into a fight, and the homes fell into a non-profit company called Emalahleni Housing Company.
The company’s boss is George Xaba, the Tasbet area’s former ANC branch chairman, and who through the company collects R3.7 million each month and uses it to satisfy his taste for expensive things.
Sgudla told the tenants to stop paying and the homes should be transferred to the tenants for ownership rather than “renting forever”. They should enter into a “rent-to-buy” agreement with the developer of the homes – which is him, and pay towards owning the homes.
But Xaba is going to court over this and says the homes cannot be transferred to the tenants for ownership because they were never meant for that process in the first place. He said the homes are like hostels, they are meant to accommodate immigrant workers who are low income earners.
He also said that Sgudla wants to “profit from the sale of social housing units built with public funds”.
But Sgudla says a document called Land Availability Agreement his company signed with the eMalahleni local municipality at the start of the project in the early 2000s allows him to sell the units to “members of the public” and then take some of the money and pay the municipality for the land on which the homes are built.
Both the Land Availability Agreement and Sgudla’s claims over Dingindoda are a subject of court. Xaba argues that the Land Availability Agreement is unlawful and should be reviewed by the Tshwane High Court sitting in Middleburg.
It will be heard later this year.
The tenants say they are marching to the eMalahleni municipality on 6 May 2019 to demand that it tell Xaba to stop “harrassing” them.
In a message circulating on WhatsApp the tenants say the reason they are taking to the municipality is “because some have received court papers, some they have received illegal garnish orders delivered at their workplaces and some of their monies were debited without their knowledge and it looks like they [Xaba and his people] are trying to provoke the peaceful people of uThingo Park”.
“The municipality as the ones who hired these agents called Emalahleni Housing Company must tell them to stop harassing the peaceful community of uThingo because there are court processes that are running and lets all wait for the law to take its course and justice to prevail,” one of the leaders said.
He said they will deliver a memorandum to mayor Linah Malatjie’s office about Xaba.
SEE ALSO: Dingindoda residents report George Xaba to Ramaphosa
In his response, Xaba said he had been faced with people who had been stopping new tenants from coming in.
“Staff members are also threatened and vehicles belonging to the non-profit company are damaged when they come to the premise,” Xaba said.
He added other tenants who want to comply are forced to stay away from work, with the other group blocking the entry.
He said the court has interdicted the tenants who refused to pay and had allowed “EHC to perform its duties”.
“I do not understand when he says EHC is provoking and harassing peaceful people of uThingo. Is it peaceful when you burn down properties? Is it peaceful when you barricades the complex and force everyone to stay away from work? Is [it] peaceful when you block people from exercising their democratic rights to stay away from your meetings . Is it peaceful when you continuously harass and provoke security person for doing their job to protect innocent and law-bidding citizens?” Xaba asked in his response.
(edited by ZK)
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