• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

BCM throws elderly couple out of ‘their home’ in the rain

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

It poured for East Bank housing development residents when they were thrown out into the streets on a rainy Monday morning. The Sherriff of the Court and the Buffalo City Metro Law enforcement barged in announced to remove children, the elderly and their belongings from their homes following a court order that was issued last year.

Even the frail and elderly were chucked out in the pouring rain with the little they have also getting damaged. Stella Barnes (67) and Mathew Jafta (75), a couple who have been sharing an incomplete house for two years, cast a sad sight standing in the rain soaking wet.

Barnes first applied for a house in 1989, then in 2011 and then in 2018. Each time houses were allocated, she would go and check if her name is on the list, but she said she would be shoved aside ahead of younger people.

“Tata and I have nowhere to go, we have been staying in this incomplete house for two years fixing it. The house we were promised was taken over by people who claim they had been on the list ahead of us. We have no money, but a neighbour will keep our stuff for now while we go look for a place to stay. I don’t even know where to start. We have been given until 11am to be out,” she said at one minute before the deadline.

The couple is waiting to hear from their daughter who is at work and stays in a one-room shack in Pefferville. They illegally occupied this house because they were scared that they would never get to see a house in their lifetime.

“We never got a court order to say let us move. Even the police say they got the instruction to kick us out this morning. The Mayor said we could stay here and they would allocate the rightful owners a house in the ones that are still being built. The councillor does not want us to stay here because she has her own list of preferred house owners, probably at a price,” said Jafta.

The court order grants the Municipality permission to carry out evictions of illegal houses invaders and restore rightful owners. This is the second eviction in the area, following a similar one in June, which was unsuccessful as illegal invaders returned to the homes, once authorities left.

“This time around the authorities are executing evictions whilst moving out belongings of illegal invaders into trucks, and ushering in rightful owners at the same time,” said Samkelo Ngwenya, spokesperson for the municipality.


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