Russel Ratombo stands in front of the demolished house. Photo supplied.

'Headman demolished my house'


A resident of Komati village near Vleifontein is very upset after his house was demolished, following a dispute about ownership. The structure was allegedly erected without the necessary permission obtained from the traditional leader.

Mr Russell Ratombo watched in despair as his house was demolished last Wednesday, 10 April. He told Limpopo Mirror that he had purchased the land from a woman residing in Nzhelele in 2007 and paid her R7,000 for the stand.

When asked to produce the Permission to Occupy (PTO) certificate, Ratombo could not do so. He said he had tried multiple times to contact the woman who had sold him the stand but without success. “I started building a one-room house for my family, and now it’s gone,” he lamented.

“The house was my everything. I saved for many years to build the house, but someone heartless came and destroyed it in minutes. I do not know what to do as I am left with only what I am wearing now. What I want now is my house and nothing else. When they came, they did not have the decency to talk to me but just destroyed the house. Everything inside it was damaged, including a TV set, fridge, food, and other items,” said Ratombo.

Ratombo expressed his disappointment that the local headman had not spoken to him before destroying his house. “There was no notification. Nobody came and addressed me. Who in their right mind would build a house knowing it is illegal?” he added.

In response, headman Patrick Sambo said that he was the person responsible for demarcating stands and issuing PTOs. When he noticed the house, he asked Ratombo for proof of ownership. Sambo said Ratombo could not provide contact information or details of the woman from whom he claimed to have bought the stand. “Upon investigation, it was discovered that the stand was not registered, as all stand numbers must be registered with the headman and the Makhado Municipality,” he said.

Sambo denied that he was personally responsible for demolishing Ratombo’s house, attributing the action to community members frustrated with rising crime levels in the area.

The police spokesperson, Sgt Vuledzani Dathi, confirmed the incident and stated that a case of malicious damage to property had been opened. No one has been arrested, and the police investigation is ongoing.


News - Date: 20 April 2024

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Kaizer Nengovhela

Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror in 2000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.

Email: [email protected]