Minister Simmers engages newly appointed Rental Housing Tribunal Members
This past Friday, Western Cape Human Settlements Minister, Tertuis Simmers, met the newly appointed members of the Rental Housing Tribunal (RHT).
The RHT consists of its Chairperson, Mr Lionel Esterhuizen, Deputy Chairperson, Ms Sibongile Morare, members Mr Noel van Stade, Mr Andre du Plessis and Mr Steve Kahanovitz, who is also a new member. Ms’ Sunell Afrika and Georgina Crouth are alternate members.
Minister Simmers said: “The tribunal has a pivotal role to play in not only applying the Rental Housing Act, but also to assist in settling disputes between tenants and landlords. I’d like to wish the chairperson, Mr Lionel Esterhuizen and all members the best as they endeavour to fulfill their duties to their best of their ability. We have citizens who require their assistance and expertise and it is critical that this be done in a fair and just manner.”
The Western Cape Rental Housing Tribunal is an independent statutory body which is established by the MEC, in terms of Section 7 of the Rental Housing Act. The primary purpose is to resolve disputes between tenants and landlord which relates to rental accommodation. These disputes arise between parties who reside in dwellings (flats, privately owned houses, shacks, communes, backyard rooms etc.)
Unfair practice refers to any act or omission by the landlord or tenant in contravention of the Act and can relate to any of the following: Changing of locks, withholding deposits, non-payment of rental, damage to property, demolitions, evictions, municipal services disconnection, maintenance etc.
“The service offering of the tribunal is available free of charge to all citizens of this Province, and while it operates from Cape Town, the RHT can also hold hearings in other Districts within the Province. The Tribunal has an obligation to educate, provide information and advise tenants and landlords regarding their rights and responsibilities.
It is extremely beneficial to citizens to use the services of the Tribunal as opposed to the Magistrates court, as not only is it a free service, matters are resolved within a shorter time period. The process is also relatively simple to undertake and is available throughout the Province,” added Simmers.
During the lockdown period the Tribunal is operating and can be contacted via the following mechanisms:
Monday to Friday from 08h00 till 16h00, via Mr Nkosana Vaveki, on 061 527 0878, Mr Lionel March, on 082 306 5707 or Mr Vani Sitatu on 067 829 8461. Alternatively, for enquiries, an email can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or for disputes to email@example.com.
Simmers said: “I’d like to encourage members of the public, who might be in need of the Tribunal’s services to contact them. The function of the tribunal cannot be underestimated, as it is in an exceptional position to forge and promote social inclusion in an open society, which we remain committed to.”