blind widow fights for house

blind widow fights for house

MASERU – IT was the sheer level of greed and heartlessness that shocked the community.
When her husband and mother-in-law died, a woman and her children, who are all blind, are now living in abject poverty homelessness.
That is thanks to the actions of a greedy relative who allegedly sold the family house behind her back.
Mary Tau is blind. So are her children. After the death of her husband and mother-in-law, Tau has been forced into homelessness after a relative sold the property and kicked the family out in Sekamaneng.

The case, which is before the courts, highlights some of the problems faced by widows, worse still those with disabilities such as Tau.
Tau and the children “are left in dire circumstances of abject poverty and homelessness” after they were “unlawfully driven from their home”, said their lawyer Advocate Lereko Ketsi in a certificate of urgency filed at the High Court late last month.

Tau is seeking an interdict against ’Mapulane Sootho, who bought the property in dispute, from developing it pending finalisation of the case.
Sootho bought the property from Tau’s cousin, Mosala Sesinyi, who, according to the court papers, sold it without the knowledge and approval of the rightful owners.

“It is important that the matter be disposed of urgently to stop their long suffering,” lawyer Ketsi said.
“This matter is made worse by the fact that (Tau) and her children have visual impairment with two of (her) children totally blind and in need of a stable home,” he said.

“This calls for a speedy resolution of this matter”.
Tau has enjoined the Master of the High Court, the Land Administration Authority, Officer Commanding Mabote Police and the Commissioner of Police in the suit.

She wants the court to interdict the Land Administration Authority from registering a lease for Sootho.
She is also seeking protection from the police, arguing that Sesinyi and Sootho have been threatening to use violence.
The court should declare Sesinyi as an unlawful occupier who should be evicted without compensation, she argues.
In her affidavit, Tau says she was in a civil rights and community of property marriage since March 1987.
Her husband, who was also blind, died in April 2003.

Their three daughters, like their parents, are blind and are totally dependent on others to survive.
Tau says she lived together with her mother-in-law, ’Maaron Sesinyi, at the house in Sekamaneng.
“Even after the passing on of my husband I continued to reside with my mother-in-law until she passed on in 2005,” she says.

Despite his visual impairment, her husband was the sole breadwinner for the family, including the mother and a niece they lived with.
So poor was the family that members of the community, including, Nthane Brothers Company, catered for the mother-in-law’s funeral.
As the eldest cousin, Sesinyi “took over the responsibility to administrate the funeral of my mother-in-law being his aunt”.

After the funeral, Sesinyi allegedly took it upon himself to sell the property to Sootho, claiming “he was trying to recoup his expenses for the burial of my late mother-in-law”.

Tau says Sesinyi has no expenses to claim because ’Maaron Sesinyi was buried by the Sekamaneng community and Nthane Brothers.
“But this is neither here nor there because he had no right to sell this property,” she says in the court papers.
At the time of her mother-in-law’s death, Tau was in South Africa where she was a domestic worker. She came back to find her children kicked out of the house.

Her sister, Paballo Tau, took the children to live with them. The Master of the High Court filed civil proceedings in the magistrate’s court for the ejectment of Sesinyi and Sootho and judgment was delivered in November 2013.

Sesinyi and Sootho lost the case in a 2013 judgment but applied for a stay of execution pending a rescission. They filed an application for review or rescission on an urgent and ex-parte basis staying the order of the magistrate’s court. The application is still pending without finalisation.

In the meantime, Sootho is continuing with the development of the property. Faced with this reality, Tau approached the Registrar of the High Court for assistance late last year and a court annexed mediation was proposed but it failed because Sesinyi and Sootho allegedly refused to attend.

Last month the Registrar approached Advocate Ketsi to assist Tau for free (pro bono) and filed the current application in the High Court.
“I aver that this application in no way goes against or contradicts the pending litigation in so far as those proceedings filed by the (Master of the High Court) were meant to protect my minor children,” Tau says.

Tau says Sesinyi acted unlawfully because “the heir to the late ’Maaron Sesinyi is customarily her only son Lehlohonolo Sesinyi who is my husband and I am the heir to my late husband’s rights over immovable property customarily and under the governing laws relating to land”.
“It was only through my consent that (Sootho) could have bought the site in question legally,” she says.
Sesinyi and Sootho’s lawyer, Advocate Moeketsi Lekobane, said he is still preparing the responses to the new application.
They will appear in the High Court on Monday.

However, Advocate Lekobane says he views “this new urgent application by this Mary Tau as just unnecessary duplication of cases”.
“In her affidavit she shows that there is a pending case in the High Court over the same subject matter,” Lekobane said.
“Maybe the court will advise her otherwise, I don’t know but she is wasting the court’s time with her duplication of cases,” he said.

Staff Reporter

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