justice fails his blind faith
April Rampeiwa is a father, husband and loyal worker who is struggling under the burden of hard knocks.
First he lost the sight in one eye about 14 years ago in a car accident and now doctors are struggling to save the other one.
As if that's not enough, his employers of 12 years are firing him - and kicking him out of the accommodation he has occupied for more than 10 years.
And it's all because he can't see because of a vicious attack in the car park of the block of flats where he has worked for a very long time.
"I am going blind and they are firing me," Rampeiwa said. "They say I am useless."
His feeling of helplessness is compounded by the fact that the violent tenants who attacked him have appeared in court and he was not even called as a witness.
The case against one of his assailants was dropped while the other attacker was fined R1000.
"I got this information from the Florida police when I went to complain about the case taking so long," he said.
A letter in the possession of Sowetan, written by Rampeiwa's employer, Lakeview Body Corporate, says the company will pay his final salary at the end of the month.
The company is also kicking him out of the rooms he has lived in for 12 years.
"I am traumatised," Rampeiwa said. "I have a wife and three children. How am I expected to live?"
Lakeview Flats manager Johan Marais said yesterday that Rampeiwa was not working.
"We have continued paying his salary of R1600 since his injuries [last year]," Marais said.
"I think he should write a letter stating his case and ask to continue living on the property and let the trustees decide."
Police spokesman Captain Lydia Mtila-Dikolomela confirmed that one of the accused was acquitted and another fined.
"But we don't have the docket because the senior prosecutor at the Roodepoort magistrate's court asked for it after Rampeiwa complained about the way the case went," MtilaDikolomela said.
National prosecuting authority spokesman Tlali Tlali said yesterday that he was waiting for feedback from the Roodepoort magistrate's court.
Vincent Moaga of the South African Human Rights Commission said: "They should first consider alternative suitable employment for Rampeiwa before they can release him from his duties."
Moaga said that the employer should also look at providing alternative accommodation for Rampeiwa.
Kgaogelo Nchaupe, a candidate attorney at the Legal Resources Centre, said that common ground could still be found.
"The employers could agree to making Rampeiwa pay some amount for accommodation while he looks for alternatives," Nchaupe said.
"But they cannot just evict him like that without a court order."
Rampeiwa said he was attacked by three tenants after he had stopped them from parking in a reserved bay.
He spent a month in the Helen Joseph hospital and underwent an operation. Then he opened a case of assault against the men.
Now Rampeiwa, 39, previously employed as a gardener, boiler attendant, cleaner and security guard, said the law had failed him.