Cindy van Heerden, an unemployed single mother of five children, is facing living on the streets. Picture: Soraya Crowie/African News Agency (ANA)

Kimberley - An employed single mother of five, who is fighting for the right to live in a municipal flat, has been dealt another blow after the Sol Plaatje Municipality cut the cables to her prepaid meter, leaving the family in the dark and without food on one of the coldest nights in the city.

The mother, whose youngest child is only three years old, said on Tuesday that on Monday night, after she refused to vacate the flat, two municipal officials arrived and cut the cables to her prepaid meter.

On Tuesday, they went a step further and cut the electricity at the lamp pole.

The woman, Cindy van Heerden, said her children were left in the dark on Monday night, when the thermometer in the city dropped to sub-zero temperatures.

“They had to go to bed without any food there was nothing I could do,” the mother said on Tuesday.

Van Heerden applied to the Sol Plaatje Municipality 15 years ago for a municipal flat. Out of desperation, she moved into the flat in Hercules Court occupied by her sister-in-law. When her sister-in-law vacated the flat last year, Van Heerden again approached the municipality and tried to get the flat transferred on to her own name so that she and her children could continue to live there legally.

“The officials at the municipality refused to put the flat on to my name and when I told them that I had nowhere else to go with my children, they said that it wasn’t their problem.”

Van Heerden believes that the officials have earmarked someone for the flat and have targeted her in an attempt to intimidate her and force her to leave.

“They have now gone to the extent of cutting my electricity supply.” She added that she had nowhere to go with her children and if they were evicted they would be out on the street.

Sol Plaatje municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie said on Tuesday that a request to disconnect the electricity supply to six rental units was done on June 20 already.

“These units are all occupied by persons either owning property in Kimberley or are illegal tenants,” he stated.

Matsie added that a letter was addressed to Van Heerden in February 2012 that her application for a municipal flat had been rejected.

“The letter was e-mailed to the contact as provided for by Ms van Heerden.”

He did not give any details why the request was rejected.

“Yesterday, the legal tenant of the flat in question submitted a letter requesting that the lease be cancelled, together with the key to the flat.”

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