Family feud displaces 79-year-old woman

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Alvine Kapitako

Windhoek-A prolonged family squabble yesterday resulted in 12 people being evicted from a Katutura house, including an elderly woman. The evictees and evictor both had conflicting tales as to what led to the eviction that left the 79-year-old woman, who at one point owned the house, homeless. The evictees claimed the house belongs to 79-year-old Martha !Gaoses. The elderly woman allegedly signed over her house to her grandson, Leonardt !Gaoseb, with the understanding the house would be renovated with a loan from the bank.

At the time of renovation, about seven years ago, the house had accumulated municipal debts amounting to over N$20,000, explained Merlyn !Gaoses, a granddaughter of !Gaoses.

The house was close to being sold off but at a family meeting it was supposedly agreed that Leonardt “rescue” the situation by settling the municipal debts.

“Little did we know that he transferred the house from Ouma’s (grandma’s) name to his and we never saw the money that he gave her. Ouma doesn’t have a bank account. He should tell us who witnessed the signing over of the house,” said Merlyn.

She further alleged the house was sold for N$50,000.
“But he should tell us where the money is,” she added.
She explained that the issue was long in coming and several efforts for an amicable solution failed.

“We were served with an eviction notice on Tuesday. Where are we supposed to go at such short notice?” she asked.
However, Leonardt had a different tale to tell. He said the feud started in 2015 because the family refused to pay the municipal bills. He also said the house was transferred into his name but he allowed the family to stay in the house after they verbally agreed they would settle the municipal bills.

Following renovation and extensions, tenants stayed in the house as a means of he sourcing extra income. However, things did not go as planned as he was accused of “stealing the house”, Leonardt told New Era.

Currently, the house is in municipal arrears of N$2,381.60, according to documents seen by New Era.
As a result, Leonardt said he was forced to evict the family “or they should come with a written agreement on settling the debts”, which are in his name. This is despite the fact that he stays in Okahandja, Leonardt explained. However, he said that his grandmother would not leave “his house”.

“Ouma can stay. She is my grandmother. The others can go.”
New Era understands that !Gaoses (Ouma) chose to leave the house with the evictees, saying she’d rather stay with all her children and grandchildren as has been the norm.

“Ouma even expressed the desire to be buried from her house when she dies one day. How will that happen if they are evicting her?” said Merlyn.

Meanwhile, Leonardt said the tenants refused to pay rent. “This was the last-ditch effort,” said Leonardt, adding
that he had several gentleman’s agreements that failed.
“They are saying I’m heartless but this was my last effort because the house is in my name and the municipal bills are accumulating.”

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