Early this year, Pono Masimolole, 34, was locked and kicked out of his late grandparents property after losing his job and failing to pay the P800 monthly utility bills to his aunties.
Feeling dejected and helpless, the man, who lived in the same household since his father, Lesole Dikgang brought him in at the age of eight, took the matter to the customary court where he is now demanding a whole house.
Masimolole’s argument is that he has the right to inherit his late father’s two-bedroomed house and his yard, located in Mogoditshane, which he was deprived of when the family estate was divided some few years ago.
The background of the case is that, after Masimolole’s father died, his grandmother divided her estate among her remaining five children, that is, her father’s sisters.
In the process, she gave Moatlhodi’s aunt, Segolame Gaedirwe, the house, which he maintains belonged to his father.
“My grandparents yard was subdivided and my father was given a piece of land at the back of the yard where he built a house. It is common knowledge, even in our hood, that the yard was called by Lesole’s name. When she distributed the houses to my father’s siblings, she did not give any to me!” Masimolole explained, the hurt in his voice obvious.
He added that after his father’s passing he went to live with one of the aunts, but soon returned home because he had to share a room with an older cousin who was staying with a girlfriend.
“I was given a room and I agreed to pay my share of utility bills; water and electricity. However, they kept hiking the bill almost every two months such that I ended up paying an equivalent of a house rent sum. I was paying P800 every month!” narrated an exasperated Masimolole, adding his problems increased drastically when he lost his job and could not pay the monthly dues.
“One day I came home and I found my room locked with a ‘skelem key’ (lock blocker). It took the intervention of a headman of arbitration for them to open the door and allow me to get some of my important items,” he further explained.
Masimolole said he then reported the matter to Mogoditshane Customary Court.
“Initially they requested that the matter be heard in-house. So we were given time to go settle it at home. But when six months passed without a word from them, I returned to the kgotla to continue with the case,” continued the visibly agitated Masimolole.
However, his father’s siblings maintain Dikgang never owned the residential plot in question, stressing it is in fact under their late father’s name.
“The plot he is talking about was an extension of the main yard. It never belonged to Lesole,” insisted Segolame Gaedirwe, who inherited the house in question.
Her sister, Mmaboda Ngqutwana, 49, equally said Masimolole is fighting for an inheritance which is not rightfully his, as his father ‘had nothing’ before he died.
“He did not even include him as a beneficiary in his package (work place),” she claimed.
Masimolole’s mother, Patricia Masimolole, 59, holds a different view from the sisters. She said that although Lesole ‘liked his drink’, he built a house after his parents gave him a piece of land at the back of their yard.
“The only thing that his mother did was to build a two-and-a-half house in the same yard with rental proceeds of the bigger house. She said she was doing so because Lesole was not reliable in sending maintenance money for his son, so she rented out his house.”
Her contention was that the house would ‘feed’ her grandson in the future.
“Lesole was a field worker in the Ministry of Agriculture so he was always on trips and since he liked his beer he sometimes neglected to send money home for his child.”
Presiding over the case, Kgosi Tswina Mochudi postponed the matter to a later date to allow for viewing of the said yard.
“Usually with cases like these, I want to see the property first before passing the verdict. But because we do not have official transport today, we will have to do it on Thursday,” Mochudi stated.