Johannesburg - An Alexandra man who was forcefully removed from his RDP house by members of a local mob claiming the property was allocated to him irregularly because he’s a foreigner lives in constant fear of their return to evict him.
Joseph Modiba - originally from Limpopo - and his wife, had their belongings thrown out of the house on July 25 by the gang that had been harassing them since last year.
The gang goes by the name Dudula (sweep clean), and is reportedly becoming a menace in Alexandra.
The couple have not known peace since they put back their belongings and took up occupation of the two-bedroom house that was lawfully allocated to them by the City of Johannesburg housing department on June 7, 2010.
The house was issued to Modiba’s wife, who is Tsonga-speaking, from Giyani.
The mob, allegedly led by a man known only as Lebogang, claims she is from Mozambique.
The family has the official documents to prove their lawful claim to the house. The aggressors have none to back up their story.
After each attack, the local police station in Alexandra has allegedly failed to act, telling Modiba that “no one has died”. He has laid charges with the Alexandra police, none of which have been acted on, he said.
He said last December he opened a case. Nothing happened. In July 2020 he opened another against the mob. Still no police action. And yet another...
Modiba said on July 28, he sent an SOS to the station commander, Brigadier Lindiwe Magudulela. She failed to respond. On August 25, Magudulela sent Modiba a WhatsApp message asking if he was safe.
Contacted for comment, Brigadier Magudulela said she was aware of the problems caused by Dudula as “it goes around evicting people”.
She was adamant that no case laid with her station went unattended.
Modiba says each time the Dudula group pass him or the house, the thugs threaten to shoot him. One of his children has a serious medical problem and has a catheter attached to her stomach.
When the family were kicked out of the house by the mob, Modiba had to sleep outside in the car with his family while he battled to take back occupation of his property.
Modiba says he has done everything a law-abiding citizen can to get redress, even writing to Polokwane-based radio station Thobela FM in his native Sepedi, seeking help.
Modiba says he sleeps with one eye on the door in case his tormentors decide to attack him and his family. At his wits’ end, he has contacted the provincial SAPS.
Modiba weeps at the discomfort this drama is causing his children, who are afraid to go outside to play. “This cannot be correct,” says Modiba, a driver at a Sandton car dealership.
While the Alexandra police took no action against Lebogang, the provincial SAPS swooped in to make arrests. Investigating officer Sergeant Sabelo Mkhatshwa of the newly established Illicit Business Forum of the SAPS, tasked with policing illegal evictions, said he made three arrests soon after taking the matter up.
The case has been adjourned to Wednesday.