The following article was published on ENCA (April 26 2013): www.enca.com
CAPE TOWN - A popular Cape Town drama company could find itself out on the streets, after falling victim to an apparent property rental scam.
The Rainbow Arts Organisation has been paying R2,000 rand a month in rent, but the City of Cape Town, which owns the premises, has not received a cent.
Members of the company are hoping to be the next generation of outstanding South African actors.
But right now the future looks bleak. Two weeks ago, city officials told the organisation that they are being evicted - despite the group having proof of a lease agreement showing that they are paying rent of R2,000 every month.
"It came as a shock to us that we all of a sudden we are illegal occupants in this space, while we know that we went through processes, because our belief was that this hall in particular the space belonged to the community for so many years,” said Rainbow Arts Organisation’s Luvuyo Gaji.
“We never even heard of the city of Cape Town having ownership of this space."
But the City of Cape Town says it has no knowledge of a lease.
Investigations are underway to find out exactly who has been receiving the company's rent each month.
The City says the group's eviction won't be permanent, and it will be required to share the space with other community projects once investigations are complete.
"We need to have a fair process. And we need to take into account the fact that there are community members who use this facility and wouldn't want it to have only one tenant, although they don't want Rainbow Arts not to be there. Rainbow Arts has huge support in the community," said Rose Rau of the City of Cape Town.
The eviction, which takes place on Friday, is a hard knock for the Rainbow Arts Organisation.
They willl have to cancel several shows set to take place at the weekend.