Johannesburg shelter gives reasons why mom of five left
The Johannesburg shelter hauled to court by a woman who claimed she was unlawfully ejected with her five children last month has presented a different picture about why she left.
The woman applied to the high court in Johannesburg last month to order the shelter to restore her occupation. She has been at the shelter since June 2019 and says she is a victim of domestic violence. She fled from her family home in Soweto, seeking refuge and protection there, and obtained a protection order against her husband last year.
The shelter in Braamfontein provides services to victims and survivors of gender-based violence under the auspices of the Gauteng community safety department.
In its answering affidavit, the shelter said the woman, during the course of her stay, had proved to be violent towards other residents and staff at the shelter, was disrespectful, rebellious and did not want the help extended to her by the shelter.
“To this end there have been numerous incidents that have been reported against her,” said the shelter’s director, Nnana Mulaudzi.
Mulaudzi said after numerous acts of violence on other clients and security personnel at the shelter, a meeting was held with the woman in which she agreed to voluntarily vacate the premises together with her children and move in with a relative who had agreed to accommodate her.
“The shelter was to transport her together with her children” to the new premises.
Mulaudzi said that in accordance with this agreement, the woman proceeded to pack her belongings and brought them to the entrance of the shelter.
“However, she disappeared from the shelter, leaving the officials to look after her children, only to serve us with this urgent application.”
The centre said the alleged irreparable harm of homelessness was without merit because her relative was wiling to accommodate her and the children.
Mulaudzi said while she agreed children had a right to family life, nutrition, shelter and social services, she said access to those rights was not dependent upon them residing at the shelter.
“Apart from their own (family member) who is willing and able to accommodate them, from the woman’s own version they are able to reside with their own father, whom they visit unsupervised.”
In reply to the answering affidavit by the shelter, the woman denied she voluntarily left the shelter.
“I have never had any intention to leave the shelter. I was forced by the security guard to leave.”
The woman denied the shelter’s statement that having been assured of the availability of accommodation for her and her children at her relative’s home, she personally took the decision to vacate the shelter.
The woman’s attorneys, the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, said the case will now not be heard at all as it has not been enrolled on the court roll.
The centre said it was of the view that what the woman wanted — for her to be in a shelter and for her to be reunited with her children — was provided when she moved to a new shelter.