Granny (99) faces home eviction

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EFF Councillor in the Mangaung municipality, Paulnita Marais bought Matokelo Taole a cake to celebrate her ninety-ninth birthday. PHOTO: SEITHATI SEMENOKANE

Matokelo Taole celebrated her ninety-ninth birthday with the threat of losing her home looming over her.

Taole has been living in Phase 4 for over 20 years. She was relocated by the municipality, from Pieter Swartz to the site, and has been living there with her daughter, Mpolokeng Taole and two granddaughters, Diteboho and Masabata Taole. They built a modest shack on the site, but have unfortunately had no running water or electricity ever since.

The municipality moved the four families to these sites, however, a few years later the families were given a new map indicating that they had mistakenly been moved to an area earmarked for business development and not for residence. However, the families were to be evicted without being given alternative sites.

The family were due to be evicted on Friday 7 March 2019, but EFF Councillor in the Mangaung municipality, Paulnita Marais, intervened. “I took the family to get assistance from Legal Aid because they have been going back and forth with this matter for over five years now. The constant uncertainty of whether or not you have a home is very frustrating,” said Marais.

Legal Aid then managed to halt the eviction for two weeks while they investigated the matter. They added that the municipality cannot intervene in the matter during their investigations.

Front: Maletuka Thaele (neighbour) and Matokelo Taole. Back: Mitah May (neighbour), Councillor Paulnita Marais and Mpolokeng Taole (daughter). PHOTO: SEITHATI SEMENOKANE

But when Bloemfontein Courant arrived at the Taole home on Friday to celebrate Matokelo’s birthday, the paper was told that the ward councillor, Thembisa Nzuzo, had arrived at the home earlier. According to the family she informed them as well as their neighbour, who is also facing eviction, that she had found two sites for them at a nearby informal settlement.

“They (the ANC) arrived here very angry at us, they shouted at my mother asking us why we are involving the EFF in this matter, they then took my mother and our other neighbour to go view the new sites, but whenever we go the councillor’s house to try and talk to her, we can never find her,” explained an emotional Diteboho Taole, Matokelo’s granddaughter.

When they returned from viewing the sites, Nzuzo said that the matter had nothing to do with politics. “This is an issue about humanity, I have offered them the sites, so should they need to move they will have a place to go,” she said.

Matokelo Taole said she has spent her life living and experiencing all it has to offer, never smoking, drinking or using any vulgar language. “I have tried to stay humble at all times and always say a little prayer when I can, even with them throwing us out I still have hope that there is someone out there who will help us,” she said.
The looming eviction is currently being investigated by Legal Aid, who will inform the family of the outcome.

Seithati Semenokane

seithati@centralmediagroup.co.za