Polokwane Observer

Ga-Rena aftermath: 4 in court

- Miranda Chauke

The four persons who appeared on charges of arson and public violence, after setting alight the guard room at the rental village of Ga-Rena in Ladanna, are each out on R500 bail.

According to police spokespers­on, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo, on May 19 at around 20:45, the guardroom was set alight by “what looked like a petrol bomb”.

Goodman Mugeri (42), Lanah Mashele (33), Katane Rodney Phala (43) and Desmond Mukhuba (36) were arrested and appeared in court on May 22, and the case was remanded to July 4.

Robert Maetisa, property manager at the Polokwane Housing Associatio­n, confirmed that they have opened a case against the suspects.

The Polokwane Municipali­ty has also been granted an order to prevent residents from holding illegal meetings in the complex, inciting violence or threatenin­g residents and to not allocate empty units.

The housing associatio­n, which is an entity of the Polokwane Municipali­ty, executed a court order, evicting illegal occupants of 117 units at Ga-Rena Rental Village on May 19.

It was on the same evening that the guard room at the village was set alight.

At the time, Maetisa stated that the rental village “was hijacked” in 2012 by tenants who took over and allocated units to themselves and that the occupants owe over R63m in services and rent.

“We have been engaging with these occupants since 2018 and gave them an opportunit­y to obtain a lease to start paying rent. A few obliged but others ignored our calls,” he said.

On the day of the eviction, the evictees approached the court and were granted an order to stop the evictions but at the time, the municipali­ty had already executed the evictions.

Maetisa said despite the interdict, the municipali­ty had not acted unlawfully as, at the time of evictions, a valid court order had been granted.

“The apartments from where people were evicted are still empty, as we are waiting for post inspection and the maintenanc­e team to start working before they can be reallocate­d. The apartments will be reallocate­d as and when they are ready for occupation.”

He said the allocation­s will be done according to a waiting list for vacant apartments.

“We urge people in need of accommodat­ion to have their names added to the waiting list,” he added.

The DA in Polokwane welcomed the eviction of illegal tenants at Ga-Rena

Rental Village, saying the party has been advocating for a proper tenant audit and the eviction of illegal tenants since March 2017 as properties were sub-let and even ‘leased’ to non-qualifying tenants.

The DA will be requesting progress reports on this eviction process and the subsequent reletting of these units as proper vetting should be done in order to avoid the same issues going forward, a statement reads.

 ?? ?? Residents outside the Ga-Rena units during the eviction.
Residents outside the Ga-Rena units during the eviction.

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