Evicted after 32 years

Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

A Mohlakeng mother is out on the streets after being evicted from a house which had been her home for 32 years.

Tebalo Singela, 39, was evicted last Wednesday and is now squatting at her cousin's house. The place is so small that she was forced distribute her three children among sympathetic church members.

Singela started living with Ezekiel and Evelyn Tipane in their four-roomed house in Mohlakeng in 1978 after her mother died. She was only eight and the Tipanes did not have children.

"The Tipanes became my parents though I was not legally adopted," she said.

Singela's mother was a younger sister of Tipane's first wife, Sheila. Tipane had children with Sheila and one of them was Maureen.

Tipane and Evelyn raised Singela as their own child until she got married in 1991. A year later Tipane asked her to move back home so that she could take care of the couple who were both old and sick.

Singela and her husband built a shack in the yard. Evelyn died and Tipane fell ill.

"I will not forget that Maureen would come to me to collect the pension money and not even ask to see her father."

Things took a turn for the worse in 2004 for Singela when Tipane died. A few days after Tipane's burial, Singela received an eviction order. The house had been sold to Junior Bindela.

Singela tried to persuade Maureen to sell her the house but she refused.

"I then tried to ask Bindela to sell me the house but he wanted R185000, which was exorbitant," said Singela.

She got legal help and a series of court battles ensued. The last one was scheduled for January 21.

"In our previous meetings Bindela's lawyer had promised us an out-of-court settlement but we later heard that the court ruled in his favour," she said.

But Bindela refuted her story.

"After taking ownership of the house, I gave Singela a chance to pay rent but she refused, hence I went to court to have her evicted," he said.

Director at Walkers Attorneys Charl Theron said Singela did not have a claim on the house because she was not Tipane's blood relative.