A Tshwane family that has been living in their home for over 60 years successfully won a case against a man who wanted to evict them claiming that his father had bought their house almost 40 years ago.
Lindi Ronsy Masilela and her three siblings got a rude awakening after a man, Koos Masilela, who they didn’t know and was not related to them, told them they had to leave the house as his father had bought it from their late father.
Lindi told the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that Koos’s claims didn’t make sense because before her parents died, they had a lease agreement with the City of Tshwane, which was granted on December 14, 1983, and will expire on December 13, 2083.
She said that the property belonged to the municipality and they leased the property for 99 years.
They grew up on the property and have been living in it for 63 years, even developing it over the years.
Lindi added that she never met Koos and didn’t know him but admitted to seeing him at her father’s funeral in 2016.
Two weeks after the funeral, Koos is said to have returned and made claims that the property belonged to him, as his father bought it from their father in 1985.
They asked for documents to prove this but he failed to produce any documents.
Lindi dismissed Koos’s claims, saying if his father bought the house in 1985, why didn’t they move in then and why was he only coming to claim the house after her father’s death?
In his reply, Koos said that his father also passed away in 2016 and he left no will. After two months, together with his late mother, they went to see an attorney to help them with the estate.
The attorney informed them of a property that belonged to his father; this was new information to him. As he was married, he reached an agreement with his mother that the property would be registered under him and his wife.
He said that when he approached Lindi’s family, they treated him badly and told him that he was a Zimbabwean Masilela.
When asked what documents he had in the file when he wanted to prove ownership when he went to Lindi’s family, he said it was not the title deed but a computer printout that he got from the attorney.
However, the document was dated 2018, whereas he was at the property with this document in 2016.
When asked why his father would buy the property in 1985 and never claim ownership, he said his father had engaged the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) to obtain possession of the property but was never successful.
Judge Sulet Potterill said the question to be answered was whether the title deed, which names Koos and his wife as owners, negates the lease agreement the municipality had with Lindi’s family.
Potterill said it was important to note that Lind’s father was not the owner of the house and therefore it was untenable that Koos’s father could have brought a property that is owned by the municipality without its knowledge.
Furthermore, the judge said Koos did not make a good impression in court because he kept changing his version regarding multiple material issues.
“Mr Koos Masilela was initially adamant that his father bought the property from the applicants’ father. This material fact changed to his mother having bought the property... Furthermore, it is highly improbable that when a person buys a property, they will simply leave people in occupation from 1985 to 2016 without paying rent, taking occupation yourself, or evicting the applicants,” she said.
Instead, the court found that Lindi was a credible witness and made concessions where she did not know the answer; for example, she did not know why the property was not mentioned in the will her father left.
The judge ordered that the eviction notice released on September 3, 2019, be rescinded and set aside.
The title deed, which named Koos and his wife as owners, was also set aside.