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Disabled boy homeless after eviction

Lucia Mdluli and her son were among the 2,000 people evicted from the Newtown Urban Village.

Lucia Mdluli and her son Lindokuhle are among the 2,000 tenants who were evicted from the Newtown Urban Village last week. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A disabled 17-year-old boy and his mother will spend yet another night on the street outside the building in Fordsburg.

Lucia Mdluli and her son Lindokuhle were among the 2,000 people evicted from the Newtown Urban Village building by the Red Ants on Thursday.

The new owner of the building, the Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC), said the property was occupied illegally.

The Gauteng Department of Social Development said it dispatched officials to assist the Mdlulis and said it could place Lindokuhle in a care centre.

The department's Sello Mokoena said their attempts to place the boy at the Zanele Mbeki Frail Care Centre were thwarted.

"The mother refused to grant permission for the boy to be placed at the centre [because] she maintains that the effort is not worth her while as her uppermost need is a house. A local councillor has promised to assist her."

Mokoena added that they would continue to persuade Mdluli to accept their offer.

Lindokuhle had to sleep on mattresses on the pavement outside.

He was covered in damp blankets.

Mdluli said it has been six days since the teenager had a bath.

She said it would be better if he died so he would be spared from suffering.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) called on the JHC to explain why the evictions were carried out in mid-winter.

DA Gauteng Caucus Leader Jack Bloom issued a statement slamming the decision.

"The JHC has provided some good social housing projects, but these evictions are a stain on its reputation."

Bloom said the city was also to blame, saying it had been "ducking its responsibility" in the matter.

He added that alternative housing needed to be provided for people like Mdluli and her son, "who have nowhere else to go."

NO FAITH IN GOVERNMENT

Some residents said they've lost all hope of government coming to their rescue.

Many have built shelters in an effort to survive on the streets outside the building though the winter cold.

Four women camped in front of the locked security gates said they were depressed and hungry.

Referring to the government, they said, "If you wanted to help us, you'd have helped us long ago."

Last week, many residents said they had lost most of their property.

"Things are missing - the TV, the DVD, even my fridge, I don't know where they are."

One woman said she had nothing left and didn't even get to save her underwear.