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Disabled evictee allowed back

A severely disabled boy and his mother were among 2,000 evicted from a Fordsburg building.

Lucia Mdluli and her 17-year-old disabled son are among those who were evicted from the Newtown Urban Village on 4 July. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A 17-year-old disabled boy and his mother have been allowed back into the Newtown Urban Village building in Fordsburg after being evicted nearly two weeks ago.

Lucia Mdluli and her son Lindokuhle were among 2,000 residents who were removed from the block of flats by the Red Ants on 4 July.

Last week, the Gauteng Department of Social Services said previous attempts to move the boy into a care home were thwarted by his mother.

The department's Sello Mokoena said Mdluli feared she would be separated from her son who had been in and out of hospital since he was a toddler.

"The mother refused to grant permission for the boy to be placed at the care centre because she maintains that the effort is not worth her while as her main need is a house."

However, the department has since met with the Johannesburg Housing Company and reached a compromise, allowing the two to temporarily stay at the flats.

Mokoena said the new owners of the building, the Johannesburg Housing Company (JHC) "really felt for" the Mdlulis.

"This is a temporary measure, but we all felt collectively that we had to do something about her case."

After the evictions, Lindokuhle had to sleep on mattresses on the pavement outside and was covered in damp blankets.

His mother said he hadn't bathed in several days. She said it would have been better if he died so he would be spared from suffering.

LOSING HOPE

Last week, other residents who were evicted from the building claimed that nearly 50 pupils lost their textbooks during the raid.

A grade nine pupil said she wanted government to come to their rescue and help them reoccupy the building.

"Ever since we have been evicted, the stress has been how we are going to get to school. Some of our books were lost and just thrown out. Of course I'm worried because I don't even know where half my books are at the moment."

Many of the residents said they'd lost all hope of government coming to their rescue. Some 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."