By SIFISO NHLABATSI AND NONGCEBO DLAMINI | 2020-05-04
The number of people moving out of rented flats as the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic bites hard has shot up.
This weekend a lot of people around Matsapha moved out of their rented flats.
Matsapha is one of the densely populated areas in the country and has a working population that is mostly employed in the textile and apparel industry.
Over the weekend, mini-trucks and bakkies were spotted all over Matsapha ferrying furniture from the one-room flats known as titimela.
Most of those who were moving out made it clear that they could no longer stay in the rented flats because they were in arrears for March and April and landlords were uncompromising when it comes to rent.
What makes the situation worse, according to some textile workers, is that they are not sure if they would still have their jobs when the situation normalises. Another factor that was raised by the concerned parties is that due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, movement has been restricted in Matsapha. This is making it difficult for workers who have been laid off to make means to earn money.
Some of those who were told to stay at home by their employer said, under normal circumstances, when companies effect lay-offs those who have been retrenched try other means of earning a living such as selling clothes, which is a popular trade among textile workers.
They said, however, under these circumstances, it was not possible because they were not allowed to go anywhere yet they were expected to pay rent and put food on the table.
They said life in Matsapha was very expensive. Nomzamo Ngozo a tenant who is one of those evicted said her landlord had been calling her regarding the payment of her rent which was overdue by two months.
"I am a textile factory worker and due to the spread of the COVID-19, we were told to stay home without pay. Things have been hard for me, I can barely put food on the table for my three children," she said. She added that she had been trying to explain the situation to her landlady, but she failed to understand. She mentioned that she does not even have relatives who might assist her in the predicament she was going through. Another tenant, who asked to remain anonymous said his landlord had given him a 14-day notice, and failure to comply to would automatically result to his eviction.
He stated that at the moment, he was confused as to where to go because he was a family man and his children and wife depended on him for everything.
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