Human settlements, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu has directed her department to launch a full investigation into the eviction of 91-year-old Elizabeth Ndlovu from an RDP house in Morgenzon, Mpumalanga.
This came after a story about Ndlovu’s eviction that was carried out by court clerk Buyi Abigail Mfusi was ran by a national newspaper. Ndlovu had purchased the RDP house from Mfusi, who later sold the same house to the acting manager of the Lekwa local municipality, Mduduzi Makhanye.
Makhanye is also ANC branch secretary in Ward 14 in the area. Ndlovu lived in the house with her four daughters and their five children. Mfusi said she qualified for the RDP house while she was still unemployed and later sold it to Ndlovu for R14,000 although the house was never transferred into Ndlovu’s name.
Mfusi said in 2019 she received a summons for R38,000 in unpaid rates from the municipality. Mfusi said she approached Ndlovu to settle the debt so they could get a title deed but that Ndlovu could not afford this. Mfusi then sold the house to Makhanye who paid her a total of R30,000.
Sisulu said the report by the national publication about Ndlovu’s eviction was disturbing.
A statement from Sisulu’s office said that after the publication ran a story about 91-year-old Ndlovu, the department is taking the allegations very seriously. The department also stated that the issue of its houses being sold for nothing is very disturbing and that the department cannot allow that to happen and its watch. The department also added that fully subsidised houses are for distribution to people and that includes senior citizens.
“The minister of human settlements, water and sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu has directed her department to investigate and find a solution to the alleged eviction of an elderly person in Standerton, Mpumalanga province,” the department said.
Sisulu said her department was going to work with the provincial government and the Lekwa local municipality to find a permanent solution for Ndlovu.
Earlier, the spokesperson for the department of human settlements in Mpumalanga, Freddy Ngobe, said the department did not have jurisdiction to directly intervene, and the Ndlovus were advised to report the matter to law enforcement agencies for investigation.
“Once again, the department condemns any acts of fraud, evictions and victimisation of the elderly during this difficult time of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Ngobe.
However, the Lekwa local municipality said that had Mfusi transferred the house to Ndlovu after the sale the municipal rates were not going to be that much.
“What we can see here is that the house was owing R33,000 in rates and we discounted them and Makhanye paid an amount of R19,000 last year,” said the municipality’s spokesperson Thobeka Mtshiselwa.
Mtshiselwa said the municipality distances itself from the issue of eviction or that of Makhanye moving into the house. She said Makhanye was acting on his own, not on behalf of the municipality and that Makhanye will have to explain his actions to the municipality.