Her house was auctioned. She fought to get it back. Now she's in jail
Falling behind with her bond has turned into a nightmare for this Joburg woman, but she refuses to stop fighting
A 49-year-old Johannesburg woman’s unconventional efforts to fight for the house she lost after falling behind on her bond payments has landed her behind bars.
Barbara Nyika, who has been camping outside her auctioned house since July, was arrested on Thursday after the new owner of her home secured a protection order against her.
She spent Thursday in the holding cells at Linden police station, with her Bible and a women’s magazine to keep her occupied. Wearing a dressing gown and headscarf, she told Times Select her only sin was to confront him about throwing her belongings in a rubbish bin.
In July, when the house was sold to Aaron Schumel Ahanono, Nyika started living in the street in front of the house, complete with furniture and the tenants who used to rent rooms from her. The group of squatters was evicted, but this did not deter Nyika. She continued sleeping on the pavement at night, and spent her days sitting on a camping chair outside the house, often with reading material to keep her busy.
The new home owner’s lawyer, Greg Vermaak, said the Randburg Magistrate’s Court confirmed the protection order on Monday and it was served on Nyika on Tuesday. On Wednesday, however, she was back at her former property, and that is when she was arrested.
Nyika said she had left some of her belongings in the yard and had planned to take them at a later stage. She was upset that these had been thrown into a bin.
“My blankets and a few clothes were thrown in the bin,” Nyika said.
An emotional Nyika, who was arrested and taken to the police station in her dressing gown, accused the new owner of being out to provoke her.
“He just did this to push me in order to get me in jail so that he can deter me from going on with my appeal.”
Nyika is being assisted by the Socioeconomic Rights Institute of South Africa (Seri) with a view to appeal the eviction and rescind the sale of the house.
Ahanono’s lawyer told Times Select he did not want to comment.
Nyika lost her job at a major airline in 2014 and first took in tenants to help cover her bond repayments. She was in the process of renovating the house into a double-storey home.
Her lawyer, Senzo Mkhize, said she was about R55,000 behind in the payments on her bond. She bought the house in 1999 for R185,000. In 2011, she secured a R700,000 bond through SA Home Loans to do the renovations.
An estate agent in Blairgowrie, Stelios Killas, said he had not seen the inside of the house but he would estimate its value to be around R1.8m. The new owner bought it for R1m, according to Mkhize.
Nyika is expected to appear in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
But in the meantime, she vowed to go on a hunger strike while in police detention, and refused a plate of pap and minced meat for lunch.
“I don’t want to sleep here. This place is for criminals and I’m not a criminal,” she said, wiping tears from her eyes.