Theresa Warren outside her flat on Austerville Drive in Wentworth,south of Durban. 
Theresa Warren outside her flat on Austerville Drive in Wentworth,south of Durban. Picture: NQOBILE MBONAMBI/ AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

Why Wentworth woman was evicted from flat

By Zainul Dawood Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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Durban - Following a week of protests and a woman being served an eviction notice a group of concerned Wentworth residents met with the MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works, Peggy Nkonyeni on Thursday. 

For years the community had been at loggerheads with the department over housing.

On Tuesday, a protest by the community in Wentworth highlighted their plight for housing. They barricaded Austerville Drive with tyres and boulders. 

The protest allegedly stemmed after Theresa Warren was served with an eviction notice after she allegedly occupied a flat illegally. 

In court papers filed the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Human Settlements (DHS) took Theresa Warren to the Durban High Court on Wednesday.

 It was an application in terms of the prevention of the illegal eviction from and unlawful occupation of land act 19 of 1998.

It called for the eviction of Warren from the flat. 

In the court affidavit Heeralall Ganesh the director property management and disposal KZN DHS stated that the  property forms part and parcel of the properties that the government through the DHS rent out to deserving members of the community who meet the applicable criteria. 

The premises was occupied by Barbara Ogle who passed away on 21 February 2020. The property then became vacant. 

The Wendy house in which Theresa Warren lived in with her two children and grandchildren. She then occupied a vacant flat, at the top floor, next to her Wendy house. She has been ordered by the Durban High Court to leave the premises in two weeks. Picture Zainul Dawood

He stated that an official locked the flat with two padlocks. To secure the premises an unarmed security personal was to look after the premises.

He said, in general, the past the flats have experienced vandalism and unlawful occupation of vacant premises to its detriment. 

Ganesh said the guard was posted on 7 February. While waiting for the application process to be finalised the official received information that on 17 February there was a problem at the premises.

He said a group of people were allegedly threatening the security guard.  Their message was for Warren to occupy the flat and there is no need to follow the process. Ward Councillor Aubrey Snyman intervened and calmed the situation.

Ganesh said the guard laid criminal charges at Wentworth Saps.

Ganesh stated that Warren was given an explanation on how the allocation process works.

 She did not submit her application to the DHS to be considered for allocation of the vacant flat. 

He said Warren has for many years been and still owns and lives in a Wendy house situated next to the flat with her two children and two grandchildren. 

On 20 February, she allegedly again came to the flat with a group of people. They threatened the guard who had locked himself inside the premises. 

They demanded he give them access to the premises. He refused.

Ganesh stated that they forcefully broke the burglar gate and door and gained access to the premises.

He said the guard was threatened and forcibly thrown out of the premises. 

On 21 February, Warren was removed from the flat but had come back the same day with a group of people who were even more violent.

In the meantime there were seven applicants for the flat. 

Ganesh said that after the evaluation of the application the applicant who was found to be more vulnerable, more deserving and who met the criterion was chosen.  It was not Warren. 

He said the person chosen could not take occupation of the flat because Warren had been living in it.  

Warren had been given two weeks to vacate the flat. She could not be reached for comment. 

KZN DHS spokesperson Mbulelo Baloyi said they working with the eThekwini municipality to find a solution to the Austerville Housing issue. Baloyi confirmed officials will be in Austerville on Monday. 

Nkonyeni together with Councillor Thanduxolo Sabela who is the Chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Delivery Committee in eThekwini Municipality met community representatives from three different areas within Austerville. 

On the matter of the eviction notice Sabela said they were aware of the two weeks notice and they were still to further engage on how to find an amicable solution.

Daily News

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