Pensioner embroiled in house dispute

Sithembiso Luphondo, Norashi Qoza and Mncedisi Twalo helping out Mr Mangcontywa.

Gugulethu pensioner Mbulelo Jacob Mangcotywa is yet to move into the house he bought for R200 000 more than five years ago.

Instead, Mr Mangcotywa lives in a crowded shack just a few blocks away from his house which is occupied by a family claiming to be the owners and refusing to move out.

Buying the property seemed like a bargain for Mr Mangcotywa but his dreams were shattered when he arrived at the house to find the family already there.

He failed to get them out and while consulting with different stakeholders, including the law, a relative gave Mr Mangcotywa a shack to stay in.

But Mr Mangcotywa also has to share the space with a car which has been parked there.

The bedridden pensioner hopes to get the house or money back before anything happens to him.

He said he bought the house with the help of an “agent” in 2012 through the bank after it was advertised with a loan.

Sadly for the 67-year-old, the agent who sold him the house died before he could occupy the property.

He was left to fight the battle alone as no one wanted to help him until recently.

Now some community groups are supporting him.

Struggling to speak, Mr Mangcotywa told Vukani the deal looked good until he was about to move into the house. “I consulted local people including the area committee then. They promised to do something but nothing has panned out. I also roped in the police with the proof that the house was mine. When we got to the house they turned against me too.

“I lost hope in the law since then,” he said.

Surrounded by concerned community members, Mr Mangcotywa showed Vukani the proof of purchase and the transfer fee of R7 000 which he paid.

His friend Mzwandile Mgulwa said he was at pain to tell his friend’s story.

He said Mr Mangcotywa has been everywhere seeking help to get the people out of his house. “When he started getting sick he even sent me to Port Elizabeth for his wife’s signature.

“The sad part is that even the wife back home is not well.

“I was with him when he went to Legal Aid.

“The case has been pending and in process for too long. When we last asked they said they will send the case to the court. It is a sad state of affairs. It seems no one is willing to help him.

“But I and other community members will try our best,” said Mr Mgulwa.

He said they take turns to cook and clean for Mr Mangcotywa, and take him to the toilet.

He stressed Mr Mangcotywa’s need for a decent place to live, especially his own house.

“He needed it badly. There is no tap here.

“There is not toilet and running water. This is a shack garage. He lives with an old car and there is oil all over the place. He really needs his house,” he told Vukani.

The Abemi of South Africa, a human rights advocacy movement, has promised to find ways to help Mr Mangcotywa get his house or money back.

When Vukani visited Mr Mangcotywa on Wednesday April 4, the members were busy helping him and cleaning him.

Chairperson of the Abemi of South Africa, Mncedisi Twalo, said the government needed to apply the law equally for all people like they would have in an affluent area.

“We are a country with the best constitution but failing elderly people like Mr Mangcotywa and many others. We expect the law to play its role where it should.

“This old man has all the proof so what is stopping the law from taking its course? Are they waiting for people to take the law into their hands and start moaning?

“What we are seeing here is injustice. Justice must be done for this man.”

Mr Twalo said his organisation would meet with the other family.

“Here are the papers showing that he paid the full amount including transfers.

“This need to be resolved as soon as possible,” he said.

Contacted about Mr Mangcotywa’s plight, spokesperson for Social Development MEC Albert Fritz, Sihle Ngobese, said: “Social workers will make contact with the man, and any family he may have.

“The department is sensitive to the plight of elderly residents, especially those still living independently, but who may need assistance on occasion. Social workers will assess the circumstance of this case, and determine what assistance can be rendered,” he said.