The tenants at a notorious property in Nelson Street, Knysna may soon be evicted. Photo: Ingrid Botha.
KNYSNA NEWS - Legal action to evict 11 tenants from a property, which has literally become a ‘stinking’ eyesore in Knysna’s central business district, came one step closer to being realised on Friday, March 6.
Local lawyer Daan Dercksen was appointed by the joint liquidator Fanie Roux of George to lodge the eviction notice. Dercksen initiated proceedings on Friday, January 22.
Dercksen told the Knysa-Plett Herald that the tenants had not filed opposing papers to the first application by the deadline date of Friday, March 6.
This meant that he could take the second step in the eviction process of requesting the court to grant a final eviction notice. On Friday, Derckson issued an order before the court for the eviction of the eleven respondents in terms of section 4(2) of Act 19 of 1998 (Prevention of Illegal Evictions - PIE). This would be served on all respondents named and living at 3 Nelson Street before March 13. Should they not lodge opposing documents by the hearing on April 10, the tenants will be served a final notice to vacate the property by a court-determined date.
The eviction proceedings followed the final liquidation of the registered owner, Proximity Properties 28 CC on July 11, 2014. The sole member of Proximity Properties is Michael Merrick who is a chartered accountant who lives on Thesen Islands.
On January 29, the Knysna-Plett Herald first reported that legal action had been taken to evict the tenants from the property which has become infamous for drug trafficking, prostitution and even for harbouring petty criminals as well as causing a civil nuisance.
When the Knysna-Plett Herald visited the premises in January, three of the respondents denied allegations that they were prostitutes, but they did admit they survived by begging.
They said they did not have electricity or water and used the toilet facilities at the Knysna Mall and got water from Long Barn Tavern.
According to the court application, none of them had been given consent to live there, but the women interviewed said that they had Merrick's permission and that he had even given them a key. Merrick denied this.
The fact that the property has no running water or electricity also poses environmental, health and safety risks for the community.
Sergeant Chris Spies, media liaison for Knysna SAPS, had also previously confirmed that the police received numerous complaints about the activities at the address.
In the meantime, the respondents are entitled to defend the application in court on April 10 and also have the right to apply for legal aid "where necessary".