Thirty-five families in Savannah City, south of Johannesburg, were evicted from houses they were occupying and their belongings chucked out on the streets. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)
Thirty-five families in Savannah City, south of Johannesburg, were evicted from houses they were occupying and their belongings chucked out on the streets. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

35 families live on the streets after being evicted from RDP houses they illegally occupied

By Boitumelo Metsing Time of article published Feb 25, 2021

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Johannesburg - Thirty-five families in Savannah City, south of Johannesburg, have been left out in the cold after they were evicted by private security from the houses they were occupying in the area.

These families, with children as young as a year old, together with adults as old as 78 years, have been living outside in the street near their homes for the past nine days.

This after they were evicted from their homes and their belongings chucked out in the streets.

According to residents, private security accompanied by police came in and started telling them to leave their homes, stating they were not allowed to stay there as it was private property.

The Department of Human Settlement confirmed that they were aware of the situation. However, they were not be able to do anything as the houses still belonged to the developer.

Evicted resident Vusi Zulu told The Star that they had been living in the houses since December 2019 before they were evicted last week Tuesday, without any notice or eviction letter.

“We started living here in 2019 after our house subsidies were approved. We heard that there will be house allocation, and despite numerous meetings, we were not included in the list.

“Yet, people that came after us were allocated houses. When we started questioning the allocation process, we were then told about this section of houses that was apparently destroyed by red ants in 2017.”

Zulu told The Star that because they had been waiting for houses for a long time, they agreed to live in these destroyed houses while they waited to be allocated houses.

“We had no other place to go, so we occupied these houses. We have HSS documents showing that our houses were approved. However, no one is allocating them to us, hence we agreed to live here.

“We put in a lot of time and effort to fix the plumbing ourselves so that we could have a roof over our heads. Now we are again left in the streets,” said Zulu.

All the residents that were evicted were told not to enter the houses as it would be trespassing.

This has put a lot of strain on the families, particularly those living with young children who have to go to school, and adults with failing health.

Thabile Madikizela, who lives with her sister and their four children, said: “This has been a difficult week. I have a 14-month-old baby, and we are living in the streets with no means of shelter.

“I have documents of housing, yet I have no house. We are not allowed inside the homes.

“We are living like refugees in our own country.”

Families have had to find alternative places to stay.

Among the evicted residents is 78-year-old Nthwalle Pilane who lives with her 60-year-old daughter.

Pilane is a pensioner with deteriorating health. After one night in the street, her health was affected.

“Koko Pilane is old and frail. After having to sleep in the street, her health started to deteriorate, and we had to ask one neighbour to take her in as her daughter tries to find an alternative for her,” said Madikizela.

Pilane told the star that she didn’t know what would happen to her now.

“I don’t know what will become of me and my daughter now that we don’t have a home. I am really hurt. I don’t know what to say.”

Gauteng Department of Human Settlements’ spokesperson Castro Ngobese said: “The department was not involved in the matter of eviction as the houses are under the developer, and as such, it will not be involved in the matter in any way.

“The government calls on communities to be patient, as everyone approved in the project will receive their houses at a correct time as the project is rolled out.

“It calls on communities not to invade land and property as this is not only illegal but also delays development, and it diverts the already limited resources away from the project to legal fees.”

The Star

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