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‘Tenant’ evicted from restituted house

A property in Victoria Street, Somerset West that had widely been seen as an eyesore by the surrounding community is in the process of being rehabilitated.

In 2016 it was reported that vagrants had moved into the semi-detached house at 33 Victoria Street and used it as a place to live and for dropping off scrap.

Dorothy Theunis, who lived in one part of the semi-detached house, and raised two children there, said she was asked to leave the premises in 2015 because she could not keep up with the monthly rent.

Her 27-year-old daughter, Gillian, was raised in the house. Until Tuesday (31 July), she lived in the only place she calls home with her two children and boyfriend.

Due to vagrants moving in and out, Theunis says her children never had the freedom to play outside, because she feared for their safety.

The house formed part of a land restitution claim settled in 2014 when the title deed was given to its new owner, an Eerste River resident.

On Thursday 26 July, Theunis received a letter from the Commissions on Restitution of Land Rights giving her a final notice of eviction.

The letter stated that she was occupying the property illegally and has to vacate the premises on Sunday 29 July.

“Giving me two days to gather my belongings and find a new home for my two children is impossible,” Theunis pointed out.

Failure to comply with the notice resulted in the department launching a court application for eviction.

According to Theunis, members of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform arrived at the premises on Monday 30 July without court papers, instructing her to leave, or the premises would be demolished with or without her permission.

The distressed Theunis explained to DistrictMail she has nowhere to go with her two children and that the living space, where her mother lives is too small to accommodate all of them.

On Tuesday, the department returned to remove the clutter and belongings on the premises. They also removed the roof and sealed the windows and all entry points.

Neighbour Oscar Adonis, who has been living next door all his life, says it’s about time that the premises be vacated.

“I am glad that everything is coming to an end,” said Adonis.

“It was always a clean and well look after house and it was sad to see it go downhill all these years.”

Theunis had no choice but to find shelter and move her family to her mother’s house.

“I have to think of my children and their well-being,” said Theunis. “All I want is the truth and fairness.”

Despite numerous attempts, DistrictMail did not receive any comment from the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights at the time of going to print.

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