Despatch protest over evictions

Luyolo Mkentane

RESERVOIR Hills residents blockaded streets with burning tyres in protest against the eviction of two families from their homes in Despatch this week.

The community called on the municipality to intervene, but officials said the issue stemmed from the home owners failing to pay the bonds on their houses, resulting in the banks repossessing the homes and selling them on auction.

Pensioner Booi Stuurnam, 62, who was evicted from his Korhaan Road house on Monday, said his wife had suffered a heart attack after the eviction.

“I slept outside my house. The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality must provide us with alternative accommodation.”

Rose Daaminds, who claimed to be a community leader, said: “We are protesting over our title deeds. The houses here in Reservoir Hills were built by the apartheid government and we have been staying in them since 1992. Now sheriffs of the court are busy evicting people from their homes. They have evicted two families already.”

Daaminds said DA Ward 52 (Reservoir Hills) councillor Francois Greyling had failed them in trying to resolve the matter.

But Greyling dismissed this as “blatant lies”.

Another resident who was evicted from his house on Monday, Godfrey Murens, said he was angry the issue had not been taken up by the ward councillor.

“Some guys from the Legal Aid Board visited us and told me that I was not the rightful owner of the house because I don’t have a title deed. They evicted me despite not having appeared before court,” Murens said.

Greyling said he had tried his best to help the community.

“There are about 20 residents that stand to be evicted by the sheriff of the court. Those people did not pay their bonds so the banks repossessed their homes and sold them … on auction.

“It’s the new owners that are requesting the people should be evicted. I took the affected families to the Legal Aid Board in PE so that they could get assistance. I also went to see the opposing lawyers wanting to evict them.

“I’ve done a lot for those people. I can’t get involved anymore because they said the mayor [Zanoxolo Wayile] will give them houses,” Greyling said.

Wayile’s spokesman, Luncedo Njezula, could not be reached for comment.

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