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PICS: Vagrants strip more from Chatsworth family displaced and robbed during April floods

Vagrants took the aluminium stable door and pipes from the ceiling. They’ve also stripped the built-in cupboards and TV unit. Picture: Supplied

Vagrants took the aluminium stable door and pipes from the ceiling. They’ve also stripped the built-in cupboards and TV unit. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 23, 2022

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Durban — Picking up the pieces is proving to be difficult for a Chatsworth family of four who had their flood-damaged house ransacked after they had to move out in April.

The nightmare began at about 3am on April 12 when heavy rainfall and flooding caused a substation in front of the home to collapse onto their property.

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Their four vehicles – a state vehicle (VW Amarok), a bakkie, a VW T-Cross and a Toyota Etios – had to be written off.

Vagrants took the aluminium stable door and pipes from the ceiling. They’ve also stripped the built-in cupboards and TV unit. Picture: Supplied

The family ended up living separately as their house was not fit for habitation. Homeowner Bernice Pillay said the heartache did not end there.

She said that today half the family was renting a house in Seaview, south of Durban, and the other half was renting an outbuilding in Chatsworth because of travelling to work.

Pillay said last month’s rains flooded what was left of their already storm-damaged home. To add to their woes, their home, or what was left of it, was being stripped by vagrants.

“They (vagrants) took the aluminium stable door and pipes from the ceiling. They’ve also stripped the built-in cupboards and TV unit.

Vagrants took the aluminium stable door and pipes from the ceiling. They’ve also stripped the built-in cupboards and TV unit. Picture: Supplied

“My daughter’s entire flat crashed to the ground, and our house has fallen down – how much more can we deal with?” asked Pillay.

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A huge part of the road above the Pillays had collapsed, bringing with it mud, water, the roadway and a substation onto the property, also destroying her daughter’s property.

Pillay said the tender for the road to be repaired opened on June 6, and repairs might only commence at the end of July.

Bernice Pillay

Pillay, an employee at Tiger Brands in Mobeni, said that as the process dragged on, she was staying hopeful and praying the eThekwini Municipality and Standard Bank, her insurance provider, would come to her aid and restore her home to its former beauty.

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“Having my home taken away from us and my family separated is a nightmare I’m hoping to wake up from,” Pillay said.

“What's harder is watching what’s left of it being destroyed by heartless people to satisfy their greed. My husband and I worked tirelessly to create a sanctuary for our family, one that our daughters can be comfortable in, and to have it taken away from you is heart-wrenching.

“The devastation has impacted us all mentally and emotionally, and the prolonged process of getting feedback regarding the repairs has even further negatively added to my family’s well-being.”

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Vagrants took the aluminium stable door and pipes from the ceiling. They’ve also stripped the built-in cupboards and TV unit. Picture: Supplied

She said the sooner work began, the more “at peace we can be and start to rebuild our lives. We have to shop for every item, from groceries to clothes to furniture.

“My faith is in God for complete restoration.”

Living on the property, in the main house, were her mom, dad and youngest daughter. Living in the flat was the eldest daughter, and there was also another family that was renting, but they were unaffected.

According to the engineer, the main house was not safe to live in and it required a structural evaluation. They might only be able to move back in December. Picture: Supplied

Pillay said that according to an engineer, the main house was not safe to live in and it required a structural evaluation. They might only be able to move back in December.

She said the thieves had broken into the main house on April 18. They smoked in the house. There were cigarette butts everywhere and they changed their dirty, smelly clothes and shoes and changed into her husband’s clothes.

Pillay said what hurt the most was that they burnt her dad’s memorial candle, which had sentimental value. They also stole her dad’s ring, which he had left for her little daughter.

The vagrants also stole all her husband’s power tools, pots and groceries. They sold the goods in the neighbourhood.

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