Melinda Ncube, Sunday News Reporter
IN a clear case that puts into perspective the brutality of colonial laws, a 79-year-old man is now braving sub-zero temperatures at night following his eviction from his house in Tshabalala, Bulawayo, which he bought more than 50 years ago using a relative’s name.
The man, Mr Shereni Isaac Masvingise says he bought the house in 1969 but then he did not have a marriage certificate and colonial laws only allowed those with marriage certificates to buy properties in their names. He said after consulting his family, an agreement allegedly was struck that the house be bought under the name of his wife’s brother, a Mr Jobe Mashingise who then had the required papers.
In a moving narration, Mr Masvingise who now has to sleep and stay outside told Sunday News last week that things were okay until his in-law died. He said suddenly one of the in-law’s daughters named Ms Joyce Moyo evicted him and a tenant who has an eight month-year-old baby. Ms Moyo is reportedly claiming that she has nothing to do with the so-called “family agreement” as documents show that the house belonged to her father.
“We had stayed in this house for over 50 years with my wife, when my brother-in-law passed away, his daughter Joyce Moyo claimed that the house belongs to her. Imagine the pain of being forced out of a house that I bought with my own money. I now have to sleep outside, at my age and under these cold conditions,” he said while trying to get enough warmth from a fire that had been set by his tenant’s wife outside.
He said the matter went to court and in 2018, the High Court granted Mr Masvingise and his wife permission to stay in the house but the name was not changed to his. Instead, it was said the house will be under the management of the Master of High Court.
According to the Master of High Court reports, Mr Masvingise was not supposed to be evicted from the house. Things changed again when his wife passed away last year, and the court appointed him as an executor dative. An executor dative is a person appointed by the court to administer the succession to an Estate. It is an administrative office but is often carried through a relative.
“This year we were surprised when Joyce came back with a police officer and said we must be evicted. Maybe all along she was afraid of her aunt but now that she is no more she initiated a parallel process to get me evicted,” he said.
Mr Masvingise said it has emerged that Ms Moyo went back to court and allegedly misrepresented that there was a tenant named Maphosa at the house who was refusing to pay rent. She allegedly claimed that Maphosa (Mr Masvingise) was a tenant who has not been paying rentals for three years.
“We were surprised when she later came in with a police officer who even did not ask whether I was Maphosa or not but told us to move out of the house. Surprisingly the next morning, another man who claimed to come from the court came and said we must vacate the house.
We do not know if there was a court case that decided this or when it sat because the last court case was the one which gave the ruling in 2018. We have been evicted from the house without a warrant or a given notice, besides all that we never received a letter from the court that we have been summoned to court for any debt or otherwise,” he said.
He said it was surprising that there were now two cases with different case numbers over one property. The other case had been given ruling while the other “came from nowhere and resulted in their eviction”. Mr Masvingise said he understands that Ms Moyo was already in the process of selling the house.
“I do not even know if these latest papers are authentic or she just hired some people to further her interest. I need help to get what is mine, I don’t have money to hire lawyers. Joyce is rich so she has been using her money to ensure that she evicts me. Now I do not have anywhere to go.”
Efforts to get Ms Moyo were fruitless as all the numbers provided were not going through.