Flashback to March this year when the tenant beneficiaries in Communicare’s Ruyterwacht project picketed to express their rejection of what they refer to as the “illegal selling of homes” by the social housing giant. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Flashback to March this year when the tenant beneficiaries in Communicare’s Ruyterwacht project picketed to express their rejection of what they refer to as the “illegal selling of homes” by the social housing giant. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Turnaround as tenants consider making Communicare offer on Ruyterwacht homes

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Sep 1, 2021

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Cape Town - Six months after a picket by the Ruyterwacht Community Association (RCA) against the sale of properties by social enterprise non-profit Communicare, the RCA is now talking about offering to buy properties in Ruyterwacht.

Welcoming the about-turn, Communicare chief operating officer Makhosi Kubheka said the Ruyterwacht sale campaign was far advanced and some property had already been sold to previous tenants.

Kubheka nevertheless invited the RCA to participate in the sale process by submitting their offer to purchase and said Communicare would start the negotiation on the sale on the assumption that the RCA has a legal mandate to negotiate the sale of the property on the tenants’ behalf.

“Communicare will engage with RCA through established communication channels since you now accept that Communicare is the legitimate owner of the property that you have previously disputed.

“We have hosted several engagements with the community, met with community representatives, conducted surveys and assisted individual tenants to buy their properties.

“You are welcome to join these forums to table your concerns and proposals. Furthermore, as the landlord, Communicare would be keen to understand which tenants you represent,“ said Kubheka.

RCA chairperson Mandisa Zamile said the offer to buy was made because they are intent on “averting a socio economic and a social housing crisis”.

“We will be consulting the tenant beneficiaries to obtain a mandate whether the Ruyterwacht Community Association should buy the social rental houses in Ruyterwacht and form a cooperative whereby the tenants beneficiaries will be 100% shareholders.

“However, 91% of the tenant beneficiaries cannot qualify for bank loans or the subsidy from the Western Cape Government to buy their homes after 25 years of renting from Communicare as they are too old and are blacklisted as they are in arrears with their rent.”

She said approximately 600 families will be affected and this excludes extended families, pensioners who are breadwinners in their families and backyard dwellers.

The offer comes more than six months after Communicare said it would exit its operations in Ruyterwacht after 83 years of owning and managing property in the Cape Town suburb.

Communicare’s property development and investments general manager Thabo Mashologu said that Communicare was aware that despite all efforts some tenants would not be able to purchase their homes and may need to consider alternatives.

“Some of the alternatives Communicare suggested were that older tenants and pensioners be accommodated at their other facilities that are suitable for their needs such as in Pinelands, Bothasig Gardens, Brooklyn, Wynberg, Diep River and others.”

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