Family homeless after being banished by community

The Mbangezeli family’s belongings at the side of the road, opposite the police station where they slept for weeks.

The side of the road is where the Mbangezeli family from Misty Mount in Libode has called home for the last few weeks. This family has been sleeping in the freezing cold with no food after the community banished them because the mother (59) of the house was accused of selling drugs.

The eldest daughter, Thandeka (37) recounted their experience to journalists. She said the incident started in the afternoon after a message was delivered at her home summoning her mother to the headman’s place where the residents were having a meeting. This was back in the middle of August.

“While we were still waiting for my mother to return from the meeting, she arrived with a group of residents, and she told us that we are being evicted from our home and banished from this village because people say they are tired of her selling drugs. In fact, my mother used to sell drugs, we do not deny it because we depended on them to put food on the table. My mother does not work, there is no one working, we depended on the [drug] money as my mother is single,” said Thandeka.

She said it was not the first time a community meeting was called for her mother for her drug dealing. She recalled a meeting a few weeks ago whereby residents ordered her mother to stop selling drugs. Thandeka claims her mother stopped selling them [drugs], but they were shocked when she was called again, and they were kicked out.

The family start the new month still homeless, and the children are no longer attending school. The family has nine members including three children, a six-month-old, a two-year-old and a four-year-old.

On the first day, the mother and the younger children slept at the police station while Thandeka and her other siblings slept outside, left to guard their belongings including beds, cupboards, and pots.

The family has no relatives they can turn to because they are all in Misty Mount, the village from which they were banished. The village is also where the mother was born and bred.

“The most difficult thing is that we cannot even run to our relatives because we are shunned. We wish to be provided with a place to stay,” said Thandeka.

A member of the Ward 7 committee in Libode, Siyabonga Qhange, said he heard the news from the police after he was called to make a plan about people sleeping outside. Qhange said he could not accept them [at first] because the victims are linked to drug dealing allegations. Even the residents refused to accept them because of these allegations.

“At the end of the day, these are people, there are children involved. It is sad now because they are sleeping outside. These people vote when elections are held, and they vote for the ruling government. We are asking the government to help us, the victims have also learned their lesson,” said Qhange.

Before this story was published, Qhange was in a meeting when he spoke to I’solezwe. He said he will go and check on the victims.

The chairperson of the CPF in Libode township in Ward 7, Loyiso Njemla, said that they have taken the family to the police station so that they are safe rather than sleeping on the street.

Njemla said they do not accept crime either, but they were making sure that they were safe and fed because there were also young children.

“This situation is already bad, and the mother may have learned her lesson now. Her village should negotiate and forgive her. Even the Bible says sinners are forgiven, and no one can sleep outside even if they are a sinner,” said Njemla.

A resident from the victims’ village whose identity is withheld because they are afraid of being banished, said that they do not agree with drug dealing because it destroys their children, and those who smoke drugs usually cause problems. The anonymous resident said there are many drug dealers in the village and this woman was unfortunate because she was discovered.

The anonymous resident went on to say that it is sad because there are innocent children sleeping outside, the government must show up and intervene.

I’solezwe continues to make efforts to hear from the headman or the local chief about this.