Peter Matika, Senior Reporter
IN a rather unusual turn of events, a home owner in the affluent suburb of Hillside in Bulawayo has been evicted from her property by a tenant.
Ms Beauty Pirikisi, her two brothers and daughter have since last Wednesday been living in the open, following the incident, where the tenant Ms Yenzani Sibanda vehemently refused to vacate the house. The matter will, however, soon be heard in a court of law, where Miss Pirikisi has since filed court documents to have Ms Sibanda vacate the house.
Ms Pirikisi filed the documents through her lawyer, Mrs Doreen Vundla-Phulu of Phulu, Vundla and Partners, after she was evicted from her home by the Messenger of Court last Wednesday. Mrs Vundla-Phulu confirmed that papers showed that Ms Pirikisi was the rightful owner of the house.
Ms Sibanda has also been accused of hiring thugs to terrorise Ms Pirikisi and her family to leave the property, allegedly threatening that she was a political heavyweight who is untouchable.
“She says she is untouchable. There is also a man by the name Mutangi, who always threatens us as well. He comes here almost every evening and leaves around 11pm. He says he is married to Ms Sibanda and has ways of getting rid of us. This is really a strange encounter; it is very ironic to say the least. It has drained us of so much energy to be honest,” said Ms Pirikisi, before narrating her ordeal.
“The tenant occupied the house, after we asked a family friend to find a trustworthy tenant, as we were relocating to Harare.
She has been occupying the house since September 2017. In December 2017 I came down to Bulawayo and requested to see her. I also told her I had intentions of returning to Bulawayo and gave her a notice to vacate the house, we both agreed and there are documents to that effect, which she signed. I gave her three months notice as stipulated and she was supposed to move out by 31 March this year but didn’t,” said Ms Pirikisi.
Sunday News saw the copies of the agreements. She said when she arrived in Bulawayo on 4 April this year, she was surprised to find her still occupying the house.
“There were kids in the house and she wasn’t there. After they informed her of my presence she came with a group of people purporting to be Zanu-PF members, chanting slogans and threatening us. All this happened in the evening and we were forced to scurry for cover and found temporary refuge at my uncle’s place in Nketa suburb,” she said.
Ms Pirikisi said she could not fathom what had transpired and was left in a state of shock and only managed to report the matter to the police on 6 April.
“I only managed to place a report on the 6th, after I gathered courage and strength from that encounter. My property had also arrived from Harare by means of the railways so I couldn’t afford to pay storage and I had to get it home. Because of what had happened I sought the assistance of the police, who were not so helpful.
“They somewhat seemed not to want to get involved but only said they would create a platform for communication between me and the tenant, which they did. And again a vehicle full of thugs came to the house chanting slogans and threatening us.
The police preferred not to involve themselves and on that night we just braved the situation and slept outside our house,” she said.
Ms Pirikisi said she made another report the following morning, where police then intervened.
“She let us into the house, as we already had property in one of the rooms, while she was occupying the house. We tried to fit in and wanted to at least talk to her (Ms Sibanda) but she refused. If she had nowhere to go she could have easily reached out to me and asked for a grace period and not do what she has done,” said Ms Pirikisi.
She also said Ms Sibanda was in rental arrears as well. Sunday News is in possession of copies of the signed lease agreement, as well as the termination of the lease.
“What is surprising is that she signed the papers in acknowledgement of the situation but now she has taken a different path,” said Ms Pirikisi.
Ms Sibanda could not be reached for comment as her phone continuously rang without being picked. In an almost similar incident a family from Bulawayo’s Richmond suburb endured weeks of harsh weather conditions, after being evicted from the house it had been occupying for the past 25 years.
The family comprising seven people was evicted from the property early this month, in what is believed to be a long standing estate wrangle with a property managing firm. In an interview, Mrs Shupikai Mercy Chasi (69) said the family moved into the house in 1995 and has been there carrying out various repairs and renovations on the property. The family has since found accommodation elsewhere.