Hiding from the neighbours

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

When Sonto Serobatse built outside rooms on to her home in Evaton in the Vaal, little did she know that they would cause her trouble.

She now no longer walks the streets freely and cannot go to work because she fears being attacked by angry residents.

Serobatse's problems started when she was accused by members of the community of stealing building material from a local RDP housing project to build the outside rooms.

The accusation was made following the theft of building material from the area's Heldo housing project.

"I have stopped going to work because people swear at me when I pass by," she said.

Serobatse, 43, said the residents accused her of stealing bags of cement and tins of paint from the housing project.

She said: "The councillor of ward 19 led a march to my house."

"They demanded that I bring back the stolen goods. I told them I knew nothing about the stolen material."

She said the councillor, Aletha Mosia, also called the police to search her house for the stolen material.

Serobatse said when police arrived at her house, she refused to allow them to search her house without a search warrant.

But the police searched the house after her father allowed them in.

Serobatse said they did not find any stolen goods.

"After they had searched, I showed them receipts from Cashbuild. The receipts proved that I had bought the material," she said.

But Mosia said she did not organise the march and denied having led it.

"community members from the ward decided to march. I was not part of the march," said Mosia.

The Heldo housing project started in 1995.

The project was stopped because there were no funds, but was restarted last year.