Steenvilla dispute

Beryl Shouw, chairperson of the Steenvilla Housing Committee (SHC), Steenberg

The Steenvilla Housing Committee would like to respond to John H Kolbie’s letter (“Steenvilla issues”, Southern Mail letters, June 8).

Jill Adams, a board member of SHC said the first time she met Mr Kolbie was the time we started with the dispute against Sohco.

Mr Kolbie invited myself and Kathy Florence into his home where he said he was busy with the same dispute and busy writing out letters to put in residents’ letterboxes.

He also mentioned that he has Scorpion Lawyers on board with him and was waiting for his title deed because it was agreed. I mentioned this to the committee and we went to Mr Kolbie’s unit on March 19 this year.

Sharon Davids, secretary, took down the minutes of the meeting at Mr Kolbie’s unit. He said three years ago after he moved in he spoke to Adre Bartis querying how the people could go into a sectional title scheme with Sohco. He went to Scorpion Lawyers and at one of the meetings Sohco said he has to pay a certain amount to get his unit on sectional title, and that they would give him an amount should he agree. However, the levy would be the same amount as his rent.

Mr Kolbie also mentioned that the land belongs to the City of Cape Town and that he is currently 67 years old and will be 68 in September. He is paying R2 200 rental as a pensioner and that if anything should happen to him, his wife would have nowhere go.

Mr Kolbie also said in 2010-2011 there was a write-up in the Tatler, Southern Mail’s sister newspaper, about the 99 year lease agreement between Sohco and the City of Cape Town.

I feel that Mr Kolbie has lied knowing that he was one of the people who fought against Sohco in the current dispute we have with them.

The tenants and committee are highly dissapointed in him. Tina Schoor, board member said, Mr Kolbie lives a few doors away from a woman whose unit has been broken into several times and yet he says the security is adequate. She was also on the new neighbourhood watch which was formed and caught security sleeping and even witnessed security selling drugs to the tenants. As for the Kaaimans block, one morning she was watering her garden when she noticed the sprinklers were not working. She and her neighbour called the two gardeners and asked why the sprinklers were not working. They said it got blocked with the building of the new section and they told their supervisor that they needed one pipe to get it working again. Their supervisor told them facility manager Martin Govender said that he doesn’t have the funding for it. She said that Mr Kolbie’s article is bias, mischievous and misleading. It seems that the committee and tenants who are standing with us are being provoked.

Preston Schoor, also a board member, said we are human beings irrespective of race, gender and religion we are being treated like animals.

Why hasn’t the national government stepped in to help us? I thought apartheid has passed but the Western Cape is still oppressed. Why implement social housing for backyard dwellers and yet we are paying bond rates and our people are eating out of bins to survive.

Regarding the follow-up meeting with the Western Cape MEC for Human Settlements, Bonginkosi Madikizela, it’s a real pity that the MEC did not answer two very valid questions relating to subsisidies and whether we are going to rent for the rest of our lives.