Daily Dispatch

Children may be taken if parents refuse eviction

Threat made in midst of dispute with former MEC

- By MALIBONGWE DAYIMANI

SOCIAL workers have allegedly told a family living in a home belonging to former Eastern Cape finance MEC Billy Nel that if they did not move soon their children would be taken away.

Janet Bezuidenho­ut and her partner Gavin May, who rent a home belonging to Nel in his Shadow Park compound in Gonubie, said they were visited on Monday by two women claiming to be social workers.

Bezuidenho­ut said one of the women identified herself as Joy Peter and they told the couple that if they did not find a suitable place to live before month-end they would remove their three children.

Bezuidenho­ut said the social workers had told them the house they were fighting to stay in was not suitable to raise the children.

Bezuidenho­ut said although the eviction by Nel was illegal, they would have to find another place as she was not prepared to lose her children.

“The social workers inspected the house and interviewe­d me but I pleaded with them not to take my children.

“They said if I don’t get a decent place by month-end they would come back.”

Bezuidenho­ut said they were in the process of finding another place to live.

The Daily Dispatch was unable to track down the social workers yesterday.

A contact number left with Bezuidenho­ut was “not in service”.

The department of social developmen­t is, however, looking into the matter.

Nel, who has been trying to evict the family for some time now, had earlier told the Dispatch that he would get the government to intervene in the wellbeing of the children. He said the children were not going to school.

The family of five all sleep in the kitchen of the home since Nel, 73, removed the roof from the rest of the house. The door is also missing. This is Nel’s seventh attempt to evict the family.

During a Dispatch visit last week, Bezuidenho­ut confirmed that her children, aged 6, 4 and 3, did not attend school. She said they were too young.

Nel accused them of “running around the park, riding the remote gate or fiddling with the electricit­y meter boxes outside the houses”.

He said he had even bought a padlock to secure the electricit­y box so that the children did not open them.

“But Gavin broke that padlock.”

May said he broke the lock because the power kept tripping and he needed to gain access to the main switch.

Nel said the unit the family was living in was meant for a single tenant and he had been shocked when May arrived with a family.

He said the unit had been run down ever since.

“I cleaned up the house and painted it nicely but in a short period of time they destroyed it.”

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BILLY NEL

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