Tutu foundation wins property dispute

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation has won a lengthy battle to vacate a family off its premises in Masiphumelele township near Ocean View suburb.

Trouble started when the foundation bought the property from its former owner whose caretaker and his family was still residing on the grounds.

The foundation built a youth centre on the property and sought to assist the family find new premises.

The caretaker meanwhile abandoned his family, leaving his wife Zoliswa Maci to fend for their three children who are now all adults. Maci and her youngest son, Lelethu Maci, 18, refused to leave the property.

In August, the foundation sought an eviction order from a local court to remove the Maci family, who subsequently left the property in November.

A disappointed Maci, speaking from East London where her son “went to the bush” in late November, said they would return to Cape Town in January.

“I wasn’t happy to leave the property. You know what, I gave my stuff away to people. I have no place to put my stuff. I gave away my room divider, my lounge and kitchen stuff and my kid’s beds,” she said.

“I didn’t have a choice. I just gave up and left. I’m very disappointed about the Tutu foundation. They didn’t give me anything. They didn’t even help me to find a place.”

Maci said her two older children – a son and daughter – are living with friends in Masiphumelele. She would continue life as a domestic worker in Cape Town, for two days a week, and rent a room from a friend.

Maci said her son would “sleep on the couch” in her room.

Lavinia Crawford-Browne, spokesperson for the foundation, said Maci had voluntarily left the property. The matter would now not need to proceed in court.

Crawford-Browne said the foundation had over a number of years, since it bought the property in 2007, tried to assist the Maci family find alternative accommodation. The foundation looked at court action as a last resort, she said.

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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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