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Durban - A Chatsworth pensioner is involved in a legal battle to get back the home she lost earlier this month when a young couple moved in.
Pensioner Faith Moses was away at the time, recovering from an illness.
The couple, Brandon and Christanne Alley, both 28, have claimed in court papers that the Bayview ward councillor, Brandon Pillay, gave them permission to enter and live in the property as “he had helped many people gain houses in our area”.
Christanne Alley claimed she and her two young children had previously lived in a car.
However, the eThekwini Municipality, which has lodged papers in the Durban High Court to have the couple evicted, has denied Pillay gave them permission to live there and said that Brandon Alley, three days before moving into the property, had been released on parole from a drug dealing sentence, and was supposed to be under house arrest at his mother’s home in Chatsworth.
The city’s legal adviser, Sazi Ngubo’s, founding affidavit said the city concluded a lease agreement with Moses in October 2009 for a council flat in Bayview, Chatsworth.
Late last year, Moses had fallen ill and had asked the city for permission to temporarily live with her sister in Kharwastan. The city’s Housing Rentals Department then changed the locks on the door and gate to prevent anyone from gaining illegal entry.
On January 5, however, Pillay was informed that Brandon Alley would break into the council flat. Pillay had alerted the Housing Rentals Department, which sent out an inspector the following day.
The inspector found the lock on the gate cut and the lock section of the door broken, with the Alley couple and their two children living in the flat.
Ngubo said the inspector informed them that they were living there illegally and had to move, but they refused. Pillay had called the SAPS and metro police to the property.
Ngubo said residents had signed a petition against the young couple’s “unlawful invasion of the property”.
“The residents are adamant that the (the Alleys) and their associates are not welcome in the area as they have also been assaulted and threatened by them,” said Ngubo.
Brandon Alley was arrested by the Bayview SAPS on January 6 and faces charges of breaking and entering, malicious damage to property and trespassing.
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, confirmed the arrest and the charges and said Alley had been released on bail and was due to appear in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court at the end of this month.
The Alley family, according to Ngubo, are still living there. The city’s investigation found that Christanne’s mother lives in the same road.
On January 10, Durban High Court Judge Nompumelelo Radebe granted an interim order to evict the couple and for them to show cause why they should remain on the property.
In their replying affidavit, they claimed the local ward councillor “told us that if we stay in the house for more than 48 hours no one can chase us out, which we did. In the last few months my child and I have been homeless and sleeping in a car. In 2012, the municipality gave notice to the legal tenant to move back into the house within seven days or face losing the house because they found out she was not living on the property. Since then she never moved back into the house,” read Christanne Alley’s affidavit.
“It seems people have to do what they can to obtain a house while the Bill of Rights in our SA Constitution says every citizen has a right to housing. I am willing to pay the municipality for services, if they allow me to stay in this house. We do not have another house to go to,” she said.
The municipality denied these allegations. It also argued that the couple had contacted Moses on January 10, informing her to remove her belongings from the property.
Ngubo said Moses, an elderly woman, was unemployed and received a grant.
“The (Alleys) and like-minded people cannot simply take the law into their own hands and invade (the city’s) properties… ” said Ngubo.
On Monday, Judge Fikile Mokgohloa adjourned the matter to March.