No home comforts for rightful owner

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Zamukulungisa Mnyaka, 37, was approved in February as a housing subsidy beneficiary after his NU3 home burnt down in 2012.

However, he was shocked to discover that his house had already been illegally occupied by someone else.

He now sleeps in a tiny, makeshift plastic and zinc shelter owned by a friend.

Mnyaka said he could not wait for the summer initiation season to begin because it will mean he will have temporary shelter while staying with initiates in the bush.

He has spent nights on the floor of his burnt-down NU3 home, which has no roof, windows, doors or water supply.

“I was so excited when I discovered that we had been approved for a new house.

“However as time went by, and while some of my neighbours were getting their new homes, I went to check on the progress of my application and was very shocked to discover that my house was finished but it was occupied by some lady I did not even know,” he said, with tears streaming down his face.

In a bid to evict the illegal occupant, who is known only as Nomonde, Mnyaka said he approached the provincial human settlements department, Buffalo City Metro offices, courts of law and police, all in vain.

“After receiving documentation that confirmed my ownership, I went everywhere without getting any help. In court I was given a letter to take to the lady who is occupying my house.

“I was accompanied by the police when this letter was delivered to her. But I found no joy as the police also failed to evict her.”

Mnyaka said Nomonde told him that she had found it vandalised and she fixed it herself and thus was entitled to stay in it.

She was not at the house when the Dispatch visited it last week and numerous attempts to reach her on a provided cellphone number, were unsuccessful.

Provincial human settlements spokesman Lwandile Sicwetsha referred all queries to BCM, saying the city was responsible for housing allocation in its jurisdiction.

BCM spokeswoman Bathandwa Diamond confirmed the house belonged to Mnyaka.

“The predicament faced by Mr Mnyaka and other beneficiaries like him is a matter the city is prioritising.

“As the city we want people to live in a comfortable and secure environment – that is why we build and source funding for the construction of houses.

“Mnyaka’s house is one of those affected by illegal occupation in Unit P and in cases like these, the metro investigates the matter and applies in court for an eviction order.

“It is so sad that there are people who are betraying dreams like Mr Mnyaka’s and the vision of our city by acting this way.”

Legal expert Shaun Mathie of Drake Flemmer & Orsmond Attorneys said the country’s Constitution protects the right to housing and the correct procedure has to be followed when evicting unlawful occupiers from residential premises. “The provisions of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction Act need to be observed and an application brought to court in order to obtain an eviction order.

“Only once a court order has been granted, will the sheriff attend to the premises, evict the occupier and hand it over to the actual owner,” Mathie said.

He added that if the aggrieved owner does not have the means to approach the courts through a private attorney, Legal Aid could assis

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