Residents of Zwelethemba in Worcester prevented a sheriff of the court from evicting four sisters and their two children after their stepfather tried to kick them out.
The sisters, one of whom is pregnant, say their mom passed away in 2015 and now her husband wants to throw them out of the RDP house they've been living in since 2005.
Xoliswa Gcinisa, 30, explains: “My mother got married after she got this house and she moved out with her new husband, leaving us in the house. Now he wants us out of our only home, yet he has his own house.”
She says the issue began in 2018 when they were asked to leave as the stepfather had plans for the house.
On Monday, residents blocked the driveway with burning refuse, preventing the sheriff from taking the keys.
“My mother did not leave a will when she died but listed my sister as a beneficiary of the house,” says Xoliswa.
“We have nowhere else to go and we are not moving out.”
She says the matter went to court and they signed papers not knowing they were agreeing to an eviction.
“We were told by the lawyer that the house belonged to our stepfather as he was married in community of property with our mother and we signed, thinking he will not kick us out as he has his own house which he bought with my mother.”
The stepfather, Salmon Mase, declined to comment, saying that the matter is before court. "They must not tell you half of the story, they must tell you everything. I raised those children as my own, why would I want to evict them?” he asks.
He did not say why he wanted the sisters out when they have nowhere else to go.
Local councillor Mthetheleli Mkhiwani said only a court can sort out the sticky situation: "Their mother got married after she had received the house and bought another one.
“One of the children is listed as a beneficiary but they signed the eviction letter which now needs a court to look at it as they have no other place to go to.”
Marcelino Martin, spokesperson to the MEC of Human Settlements, said: “Should the owner or co-owner of a house pass on, it is dependent on whether the deceased person left a will directing what should happen to the immovable property.
“Should the person not have left a will, the Master of the High Court will wind up the estate of the deceased person and determine what should happen to the immovable property. Children, or any other relative of a deceased person, do not automatically inherit property after a parent has passed on.”
He advised that the family seek assistance from the municipality.