It has been more than a year since a group of Mzimhlophe hostel dwellers were allegedly forcefully evicted from their homes.
The occupants and their families have accused Meadowlands police station and other government institutions of failing them after months of not receiving updates about their situation.
More than 30 of these former homeowners claim that they were chased out of their homes by hostel izindunas (chiefs) who accused them of being illegal foreigners who had no right to live in the hostel.
The residents are determined to be allowed back into homes they claim are rightfully theirs.
Some of the former home owners told Saturday Star that they were chased out without their household items. A former resident said she was forced to accept a R30 00 payment to move out of a house she had been calling home for more than 10 years.
“It is painful what happened to me as I was forced out of my house and forced to accept the R30 000 that was deposited into my account. I am now renting a room with my children in front of my old home. I was not given a choice but told to take the money and move out. To this day, all my furniture was taken away from me and now I have to pay rent because they say I am a foreigner,” the former resident told The Star.
"I have paid almost R3 000 paying rent in the past 18 months after my home was taken from me. I want it back, but izinduna are refusing my request,“ she said.
Some of these residents have been forced to move more than 10 kms from Mzimhlophe and are now renting backroom homes in parts of Braamfischer, Green Village and other parts of Soweto.
“Some of us are not illegal foreigners as there are people from KZN, Limpopo and other parts of the country who have had their houses taken away from them. We are told that we're foreigners and therefore must move out. We have opened cases with the Meadowlands police station but they won't assist us,“ Cowen Masuku said.
Another occupant said he was fetched while collecting water and told to take his clothes and leave his hostel home.
“These people came with my wife and told us to get out of the home we had been staying in for more than years. They said we're are illegal foreigners who should not be in the hostel. We left with just clothes on our back,” the man, who now rents a backroom in Braamfischer, said.
Speaking to The Star SAPS spokesperson, Colonel Mavela Masondo said they were still investigating some of these cases.
“Police have opened cases of house breaking and theft after some of the residents alleged that their houses were broken into and items stolen from their houses. These cases are still under investigation, and no arrests have been made yet. With regards to eviction the residents were referred to the department of human settlements who will decide if these residents are the rightful owners of the houses and whether they must be escorted back to the houses,” Masondo said.
Attempts to get comment from the Office of the MMC Human Settlements in the city of Joburg had not been received at the time of going to print, despite an acknowledgement of our media inquiry.
“I acknowledge receipt of the below information has been requested from the Office of the MMC Human Settlements,“ City of Joburg’s Dudu Lushaba said.