Cape Town - Assertions by tenants who have for years disputed housing company Communicare’s ownership of properties may be closer to clarification. This after the Land Claims Court instructed the Deeds Office to provide all the documents related to Communicare’s ownership of selected properties.
Judge Thomas Ncube issued the order on November 29. Both sides in the dispute said they had anticipated the court’s ruling.
Communicare chief operating officer Makhosi Kubheka said it had co-operated fully with the process and was certain the Deeds Office would provide all the necessary documents so that the court could rule on the case and bring the matter to a close.
“We are certain it will finally end the speculation and allegations made against Communicare over the past few years as to its lawful ownership of the relevant properties,” she said.
Kubheka said all property owned by Communicare was registered with the Deeds Office and that after the requirements for all legally registered companies in South Africa, Communicare is registered and in good standing with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).
“The fact that this matter is before the court does not mean that tenants don’t have to pay their rent. Communicare advises tenants to continue to pay their rent if they don’t want a bad credit record or face the risk of their arrears being handed over for collection,” Khubeka said.
Spokesperson for the doubting tenants, activist Colin Arendse said: “If, as Communicare avers, they co-operated fully with the process and the Deeds Office will provide all the necessary documents for the court to rule on this matter, why did Judge Ncube have to compel the Deeds Office to respond in the first place?”
He said the Deeds Office either had the proof that Communicare exists and were the legal owners of all the buildings and the land that they claim to own, or they don’t.”
He said tenants wanted the Deeds Office to respond so their main application for a land claim could proceed without further delays.
In March, after a challenge from tenants, Communicare was forced to release a statement detailing the history of how it came to be in its present form from apartheid times.
It said it had officially changed its name via the registrar of companies in 1964, from Citizens’ Housing League Utility Company to Citizens’ Housing League.
It went through another name change in 1981, when it became the Housing League, and finally in 1990 to Communicare.