WE make reference to your article "Bullied residents cry foul" of Thursday September 12.
We would like to set the record straight since your reporter never gave Imizi the opportunity to put our side of the story.
We want to state emphatically Kevin Foster has misled your reporter. Our CEO has met with him on the following occasions with respect to the matters raised by defaulting tenants.
The first meeting occurred on September 3 at 6pm at Imizi head office. The second meeting occurred on September 5 at 7pm at Walmer Link boardroom where both Ms Koyana, the provincial director of social housing, and [Buysile] Mkavu, a member of the NMBM mayoral committee, were present.
At the first meeting with our CEO Foster seemed to understand Imizi's position with respect to the defaulting tenants. All the documentation relating to the defaulting tenants was shown to him at this meeting and he seemed happy that Imizi handled these matters fairly.
This meeting was preceded by a very threatening letter (unsigned) that we received from Foster so he should be the last person to talk about bullying.
We don't believe these matters were discussed at his branch or that he was mandated in any way to intervene on behalf of the defaulting tenants. It is highly likely Foster is using Walmer Link merely as an attempt to win the favour of the ANC.
Our CEO has had discussions on this matter with [Zandisile] Qupe, ANC regional general secretary, Mkavu of the NMBM human settlements committee and officials of province and the Social Housing Regulatory Authority. These persons, with the exception of Qupe, also met with the tenants of Imizi. Imizi was found to be acting correctly and the tenants were advised by these officials that, should they not pay their rent, they will be evicted once due process has been followed. Qupe also indicated the ANC would not support tenants who do not pay their rent.
Out of 347, we have about 20 defaulting tenants, five of whom are in arrears of three months or more. For those defaulters who are more than three months in arrears and make no effort to settle their debt, we do attach their furniture, but as a last resort.
Since the project runs on very tight financial margins, Imizi has to collect all the rent in order to settle the loan we raised to complete the project. Non-payers threaten our ability to repay the loan and to sustain the project.
There is no way Foster, who is not even a tenant, and his ilk will be allowed to destroy something that fulfils a great need in society and particularly in this city.
Clive Felix, chairman, Imizi Housing Utility