Macfarlane's Blog: The Complex from Hell

From the outside this is a typical suburban complex with about 230 units, a great place to raise kids in a safe and secure environment. Why then is Eveleigh Estate called the complex from hell?

18 July 2018

There is little that gives a person greater pride than owning their own property, whether it’s a flat, a farm a townhouse or a shack.  Property ownership is a very emotional subject in South Africa at the moment, however we need to dig deeper to really understand what it truly means for each individual. Some may say it gives one a sense of pride, dignity or belonging, others may say it’s an investment opportunity which will yield returns in the future. However you see it, owning property is something very important and personal to everyone.

With this context in mind, we recently went to an upmarket neighbourhood in Boksburg to visit Eveleigh Estate. This is a multicultural complex comprising of whites, coloureds, Indians, Africans and foreign migrants, the ideal rainbow nation.  From the outside this is a typical suburban complex with about 230 units, a great place to raise kids in safe and secure environment. Why then is Eveleigh Estate called the complex from hell?

Let me take you through our experience: We arrived at the complex on a sunny Saturday morning, and were met by cars parked outside and residents standing in little groups chatting amongst themselves. The residents were fed-up with what was going on. Close to 34 units had been hijacked, and many of them had been hijacked by a man named Peter who has been accused of taking over these units and replacing legal tenants with drug dealers and prostitutes. And thus the residents and owners of the estate had come together to take back their homes.

Residents felt that the police were not helping; as cases they had opened fell through the cracks and eviction orders had little bearing. The biometric system installed to make the place more secure and identify the real residents had been vandalised, and everyone was living in fear for their safety. We looked at CCTV footage where one could see how brazenly the drug deals happen, and how Peter’s alleged dealers also broke the biometric gate system.  Owners and residents were ready to take matters into their own hands.

I was surprised to see red-clad members of the Economic Freedom Fighters enter the premises – turns out one of the body corporate trustees is an EFF member and he roped in his comrades to help protect private property. 

Things got heated as the tenants accused of drug dealing fought against the forced evictions, but residents were relentless. Pepper spray, private security and bricks were the order of the day. In the end none of it really helped, because funny enough, as much as the owners have rights to their property, tenants are also protected by the law, whether they are in your property legally or not!

It’s a mess.


Macfarlane Moleli has over 14 years’ experience as a journalist in the media and entertainment industry. Recently he worked at Kaya FM, eNCA and SABC 3. Well-versed in in-depth interviews on current affairs, contentious issues in politics, business, sports and environmental issues, Macfarlane now brings his presenting skills to Carte Blanche in 2017.

Following @macmoleli on Twitter.