Unemployed mother-of-three evicted after stepsister sells family house

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Published May 7, 2024


A Thembisa woman who refused to vacate her late father’s house was evicted after the new homeowner took her to the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

Lerato Senwamadi, who lived in the house with her three children, has been given until the beginning of August to vacate the house she once called home.

Phumlani Shabangu bought the house for R250,000 from Senwamadi’s stepsister in August 2016. In July 2017, the house was registered under his name.

Shabangu tried to remove Senwamadi from the property but his efforts failed and he approached the high court.

During her defence, Senwamadi said the house belonged to her late father who was married to Sophia Mpolwane and she moved into the property with her children.

“We were always staying together as one family in the house with my late father, late mother and my half brothers and sisters,” she said.

In March 2011, Senwamadi’s father passed away and his wife-Mpolowane- inherited the house by virtue of community of property.

In October 2014, Mpolwane passed away and her eldest child became the executor of the estate.

Senwamadi said her stepsister subsequently sold the house without informing her.

She further argued that it was unfair to only allow Mpolowane’s children to be the sole beneficiaries of the estate.

Looking at Senwamadi’s case, acting Judge JJ Meiring said her argument does not provide a cognisable defence towards Shabangu’s case of him buying the house.

The judge said if Senwamadi has issued with how her late father’s estate was wound up, her remedies lie elsewhere.

“If she claims to have a right to share in the proceeds of the sale of the property, she should pursue the allegedly errant executor,” said the judge.

Judge Meiring noted that Senwamadi was aggrieved that what had originated as her father’s estate went to someone else.

“While one understands someone being aggrieved over an unrequited expectation of an inheritance, Senwamadi’s account fails to raise a defence as a matter of law.”

The judge further added that Shabangu legally bought the house and has not been benefiting from it for years.

“Shabangu has incurred considerable expense to acquire a property that he has not been able to use. Senwamadi has lived rent-free in the property for well-nigh six years.”

As a result, the judge gave Senwamadi three months to vacate the house and look for alternative accommodation.

“I am of the considered view that making the date of the eviction three months hence would give the first respondent sufficient time to make alternative arrangements that do not unduly unsettle her life and that of her children.”

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