A Lotus River ouma has been busted by the City of Cape Town for running a huiswinkeltjie from her council flat.
The 71-year-old says she is shocked and heartbroken that she has to appear in court like a common criminal next week for trying to supplement her pension by selling bread and milk to her neighbours.
Ouma Francis Pretorius, who suffers from high blood pressure, was hospitalised after appearing in the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court in November after a City inspector told her she was violating the conditions of her lease agreement for her council flat in Oleander Court.
“I have lived here for 35 years and the shop is 30 years old now,” Francis explains.
“I started it to keep myself busy and continued after my husband died 20 years ago.
“I make a little money because I often give stuff away to help the community. Not once have I not paid my rent to the City.”
She says in 2018 she got a skrik when a City inspector arrived at her door telling her that complaints were received and she needed to close.
Last year Law Enforcement officers came to serve her with a summons to appear in court.
“Ek het groot geskrik and even the police lady that came here said she couldn’t believe I must go to court for this little stuff I am selling,” she says.
Grandson Emilio Adams, 27, says his frightened ouma appeared in court in November where she was told that she could continue to trade until her next appearance on 25 January.
But on Monday the inspector returned and demanded she close, saying “things would be bad for her” at the next court appearance.
“I can’t even sleep because I am so scared. I was shaking in court the first time and I can’t believe I must go back,” says the ouma.
“I only sell small stuff so I can buy electricity and so on and there are other shops in this area, but they don’t get closed. I put the stuff away and cleared the shop now.
“I am heartbroken because I will miss the children who come for sweets or a packet of chips”
Mayco member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi says the City issued the notice after numerous complaints were received from residents.
“Community complaints indicate residents feel unsafe due to the clientele allegedly attracted by the house shop,” he says.
“In addition, when renting a City-owned residential property, it is important to make sure that tenants abide by the rules of the lease agreement, and the City is entitled to enforce the conditions of the lease.
“City residential lease agreements prohibit these activities from taking place.
“The City received complaints as far back as 2014.”
However, the Daily Voice received two petitions with nearly 300 signatures calling for the winkeltjie to stay open.
Angry residents who spoke to the Daily Voice claim Booi is lying.
“He is being untruthful. We have not lodged complaints against the house shop and are furious that the elderly lady has to appear in court like a criminal,” one resident said.
“We don’t know what clientele he is referring to as nobody sits there.
“The City should take action against the gangsters selling drugs in the council flats.”