Legal Resources Centre to help blind Rampeiwa

Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

The Legal Resources Centre has pledged to help the partially blind April Rampeiwa who has lost his job and is now about to be kicked out of his home because he cannot see.

Rampeiwa, 39, was left almost totally blind after tenants of a block of flats in Florida in the West Rand assaulted him on August last year.

Lakeview body corporate, Rampeiwa's employer, has already applied for his workman's compensation.

"We are going to negotiate with Lakeview body corporate to lengthen Rampeiwa's stay at the flat until he gets his money," says Kgaogelo Nchaupe, the resources centre's candidate attorney.

Nchaupe says they are aware that Rampeiwa's employer might try to get an eviction order against him.

"We will oppose the eviction order in court because there are circumstances that led to this situation."

Rampeiwa was given an extension from July 31 to Thursday to get alternative accommodation. He lives with his wife Topsy, his sister-in-law Mukondeleli Matenzhe and his one-year-old son in two small rooms in the flat's basement.

Rampeiwa has been living in the servant's quarters of the block of flats for the past 12 years.

"I am worried to death about this," Rampeiwa says. "I am blind and will soon be homeless."

He lost the other eye in a car accident 14 years ago.

After the assault Rampeiwa spent a month in the Helen Joseph Hospital and underwent an operation. He is due to undergo another operation in November.

After his discharge he learnt that his attackers had appeared in court on assault charges but he was not called as a witness.

One of his attackers had the charges against him withdrawn and the other pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a fine of R1000.

But Rampeiwa's employer says he is trying to help him.

"We have been trying to get organisations for the blind to help him with some skills," says Lakeview body corporate lawyer Nadia McIntyre.

She says: "He has to move at some stage to allow somebody who will do his job to move in."