Elderly woman (88) dies after forceful evictions

Mary King’s daughters, Noleen Goldstone and Nadine Fortune hold a photo of their deceased mother.

The family of 88-year-old Howell Road resident Mary Kings, who died last Thursday, believes her death is a result of inhaling teargas during the forceful evictions about three weeks ago.

The octogenarian was admitted to hospital after she allegedly suffered panic attacks and could not breathe. Her daughter Noleen Goldstone said that Kings was healthy and strong until the day she was thrown out of her home.

“Mom had been stressed. She often cried about wanting to get back into her house. She had severe anxiety from the forceful evictions,” said Goldstone.

ALSO READ: Disgruntled residents thrown out on the streets

“We moved into the house next door where we shared a two room house with 10 more people. It became uncomfortable and unbearable for her,” she said.

Neighbour, Pretty Gumede said that she tried to reason with the security personnel to stop them from throwing out the elderly resident. “I contacted the Department of Human Settlements and social workers. I begged the sheriffs to not remove her but they did not listen,” Gumede said.

Popo Zungu, chairman of the community committee, said three more people were in a critical condition. Zungu said that Sibongile Mlondo, Felicia Jansen and Celeste Bezuidenhout were admitted to different hospitals since the evictions.

Zungu said that more than 60 families have been evicted from their homes by First Metro, a housing company allegedly managing the RDP houses.

He said that families have been left stranded on the street without a place to stay and some people are being accommodated by neighbours.

“Women and children are sleeping with neighbours who have not been evicted. Men sleep outside or in their cars,” he said. He said that the committee has reported the matter to the Department of Human Settlements but nothing has been done to date.

ALSO READ: Howell Estate families evicted

“This matter should be of national interest. It has to be discussed in Parliament because the ruling party has turned its back on us. We have sent an invitation to opposition parties to address the issue,” Zungu said.  Ward 25 councillor Haniff Mohammed Hassan said that the mayor has not been to the area to address residents.

He said that this is a political issue because First Metro is affiliated to the municipality. “I have informed the Department of Human Settlements and the municipality but no one has offered to help,” said Cllr Haniff.
When the Rising Sun contacted First Metro, they refused to comment.

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Anele Nduzulwana

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