Debt rises on home PE woman does not live in

Minazana Mali in front of the disputed house.
Picture: Eugene Coetzee

Mirriam Dyantyi stays in a shack while battling to clear up RDP house confusion

A Port Elizabeth woman is desperately searching for answers after she was slapped with a municipal bill running into hundreds of thousands of rands for a house in Motherwell which she believes she owns but is occupied by another family.

Mirriam Dyantyi, 51, has been struggling for the past 14 years to get the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality not only to clear her name, but to ensure that the RDP house registered in her name is given to her.

The situation has escalated to the point that Dyantyi is unable to apply for credit because she is blacklisted, and she has been threatened with legal action by the city if she does not cough up the money owed.

Last month, her utility bill amounted to R287 837.

In May, she received a threatening letter from law firm McWilliams & Elliot Incorporated, acting on behalf of the municipality, telling her to make arrangements to pay up, or face legal action which could result in her losing furniture, vehicles or any fixed property.

Mirriam Dyantyi who is listed as the owner of the house and has received several bills for municipal services

But Dyantyi, who has since moved to Jeffreys Bay and is living in a shack, said she has struggled to clear her name.

She said she could not open a clothing account and every time she tried to reapply for an RDP house, she was told that she did not qualify as she was already a beneficiary.

“I only became aware that I had a house in 2003 when I tried to open an account at a Foschini store.

“My application was not approved and a few days after that I received a call from the city treasury, telling me that I owe the municipality.

“I then investigated and discovered that I own the house at 61 Sadlunge Street, Motherwell,” Dyantyi said.

“When I followed up, I discovered that the house is occupied by Mzwanele Mali and family.”

Dyantyi said she reported the matter to the municipality’s housing board and was told on several occasions to come back another time.

“I was then told that I had sold the house and I must not come back to the municipality again.

“I was contacted by the Mali family’s lawyer to say they were buying the house from me, but I told them that I was not selling,” she said.

“My heart is very sore because people are occupying my house while I live in a shack, and I cannot reapply for a house because I am regarded as someone who already has a house.”

The occupants said they took over the plot before the house was built in 2001 with the approval of the ward councillor at the time.

“We first noticed the problem when the site that we took had to be converted over to the new owners. That is when the name of Dyantyi first appeared,” Mzwanele’s family member, Minazana Mali, said.

“I then went to the municipality to find a way forward and they said they tried to find this lady [Dyantyi], but after six years they told us they could not find her.

“That is when they gave us the service connection, six years after the house was built.”

The municipality said it was still trying to establish the facts around Dyantyi’s case.

Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said: “The issue of Mirriam Dyantyi is currently being attended to between the municipality and the provincial human settlements department as the building, administration of title deeds and house subsidy was handled between [Bhisho] and a private developer.”

Mniki said the metro was also in the process of transferring the account into the name of the current occupants of the house.

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