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Blog: Pimps and Pushers

Milton seller by S:P:S
Milton seller, a photo by S:P:S on Flickr.

It has been a couple months now since I have been hanging out at Milton Court, my little hideaway among the dregs of society in one of Joburg’s nastiest buildings, with admittedly some of the nastiest people. I am still not so comfortable sitting out the back with the pushers and pimps, but they are warming up to me. A little trust goes a long way.

Things have been heating up there the last few weeks. The owner has surfaced with a letter of demand to vacate the building, effectively announcing his intention to remove the current occupiers and renovate. His vision as described to me, is for shops on the bottom and flats on top. There are many rooms in this three-storey building and residents say around 300 people are already squashed in.

His demands are fair and he has also indicated that for those families that have been in the building for a long time – one resident says he has been there for over 30 years – he will make a direct plan for alternative accommodation. Anybody that has this mind set before any legal obligation to do so can’t be that bad of a guy. Human rights organisations that are working to protect the occupiers of the building need to chill out and work on a solution whereby both interested parties come to some solution.

The fact is, these people have occupied this building, and in some cases are making money off other residents…they have no moral right to be staying there, even less of one when most of them (and this is not my opinion, but correct according to long-time residents) are pimps and pushers. When a rightful owner of a property surfaces and is prepared to take the time to come to an arrangement, people need to understand that the free ride has ended and ethically prepare themselves to move on. My opinion.

Issues of immigrants, and having ‘nowhere else to go’ are somewhat irrelevant and not in the realm of what a private property owner should be dealing with. In light of such legitimate claims, disputes over human rights become somewhat more problematic.

Of course, there was this event – after which even the owner agrees and understands that he went about his efforts the wrong way. No one wants a situation to turn violent.

The individual in the picture above I feel for, as he has established his small business in the only place he could. But having that place in an occupied building whereby he doesn’t pay legitimate rent (if any) – that is hardly a position to be protected.

Joburg has hundreds of empty and abandoned buildings, Milton Court has an owner, but has devolved into a den of disparity and deserves an opportunity to be cleaned up. Don’t agree with me? Come hang with me there on a Friday night.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    16/11/2012 10:45

    nice story brother…and yeah, I’d like to hang with you there some Friday night!

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