Alexandra residents head to court to challenge evictions

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Residents of an abandoned factory in Alexandra are said to have been evicted for not paying their rent.
Families were left on the side of the road with their furniture as they searched for alternate housing.

An Alexandra land owner, who is accused of forced removal of over 50 families, says the eviction was lawful.

They are now heading to the Magistrate’s Court to force the owner to find them alternative accommodation. The residents allege they were forcibly removed from their rental rooms by their landlord.

He was allegedly accompanied by police who fired rubber bullets as well as armed security personnel. But the owner says he was not present during the eviction.

One person says, “We have never seen so many police officers in one place. There were 40 police officers and 40 security personnel. There were other people we know who we usually refer to as comrades. They were scary.”

It’s understood the landlord converted the unused factory into residential rooms. These were rented out for R2600  to R4000.

Some residents say they tried to make payment arrangements after losing their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The landlord confirms some residents have been struggling to pay since the hard lockdown.

Evicted resident, Vasco Magcwebeba says, “As most of us lost our jobs, we called him to ask for a discount, but he refused. He said he needed the money he spent to build his property.”

The units they were staying in have since been demolished. According to the landlord, the structure was removed because they were situated above a sewage pipe.

He says he is not required to find the affected residents alternative accommodation because there was no lease agreement.