‘My pain has made me a celebrity’

2012-11-13 14:36
Loyiso Sidimba
The woman who was whisked away by two armed police officers on Friday after her house was demolished in Lenasia has complained that her pain has made her famous.

Thato Zondo told City Press outside the South Gauteng High Court that her photograph was published in newspapers and online.

She missed her examinations on the day her house was demolished and today.

Zondo is studying through the University of South Africa (Unisa).

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) approached the court to force the Gauteng government to stop the demolitions and to find a more humane solution.

Zondo said she has been very emotional and distraught following the Gauteng local government and housing department’s decision to demolish 113 properties built on illegally acquired land.

The matter was postponed to tomorrow at midday and will be heard by South Gauteng High Court Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo.

The HRC took the matter to court, arguing that the demolitions and forced removals infringed on the dignity of the homeowners.

The commission secured an interim interdict yesterday to stop the demolitions.

HRC chief executive Kayum Ahmed said the commission had interviewed about 80 households and found that there were 164 children, some of whom were writing their end-of-year examinations.

“We need to strike a balance between people’s rights and the legitimate expectations of the Gauteng government,” Ahmed said.

He said there were conflicting versions of the events leading up to the start of the demolitions on Thursday last week.

“Some residents didn’t receive notices,” he said.

Zondo lived in her house with her mother and ­11-month-old child.

She is currently living with one of her neighbours, whose house has not been demolished.

“I don’t want to blame anyone, I just want government to provide me with alternative accommodation,” Zondo said.

She said she would not have invested thousands of rands if she knew her house would be demolished.