Five families made homeless in squatter demolitions
Five families were this week left in the cold in Ramaphatle squatter camp after government forced people out of their homes at gunpoint before demolishing their houses. Scores of people in the Kweneng district settlement could be seen huddled together around piles of possessions in the midst of rubles of what was their homes as they pondered their bleak future on Wednesday.
One of the hopeless victims of Ramaphatle’s operation is Tinki Sebitolo, a 41-year old father of six, whose 2 bedroomed house which he shared with his extended family of 19 people was among the demolished.
On Tuesday evening, a day after the demolition,the girls in the Sebitolo family slept inside the walls of a damaged house to keep away the cold while the boys spent the night by the fire outside.
“The older boys sleep outside and I sleep behind the walls with my partner, the girls and the younger children. I am afraid the children, some of them younger than five years old are at risk of catching pneumonia because of the cold,” Sebitolo added.
Another affected family was the Tshekisang family, which is orphaned. One of the orphans, 21- year-old Matshediso Tshekisang sobbed uncontrollably at the prospect of spending nights out in the cold with her two-year old baby.
“ Why would government want to kill us like this? No child can survive this winter cold if they are made to spend a night outside,” Tshekisang lamented.
Although the Land Board has insisted that they demolished Ramaphatle settlement because the people were illegally occupying farm land, the village leadership has argued otherwise.
Kgosi Letlole Thobega of Mmankgodi village under which Ramaphatle falls, expressed disappointment at the way government dealt with the people. He said: “The powers that we have as traditional rulers to allocate land to the people have been undermined. Ramaphatle has been in existence for many years before the introduction of the Land board. People have lived on this land for more than two or three centuries, so how can these families be said to be illegal when they have always lived here?” Kgosi Thobega asked rhetorically.
Another concerned leader, Mmankgodi North Councillor, Ofentse Mafoko said:“I am equally shocked that the people’s homes have been demolished. These same people have been waiting to be given certificates for their land by the landbord for years and now I don’t understand how they ended up being evicted at gun point today.”