He is homeless because of sneakers!

Siphosenkosi Ntlanganiso, 32, from Chicken Farm, not far from Mdantsane, was left homeless after his neighbour burnt down his home because of a pair of sneakers he [neighbour] had asked him to wash. The neighbour demanded his sneakers from Ntlanganiso after an explosive outburst.

Ntlanganiso said that he had been warned by the residents for a while about his neighbour who is known for being aggressive in the community. It was not easy for him to distance himself from the neighbour because he assisted him as he is unemployed.

The charred remains of Siphosenkosi Ntlanganiso’s house. PICTURE: BHEKI RADEBE

He said that today he finds himself homeless because of a mere pair of sneakers. Ntlanganiso quit work because of his poor eyesight.

He stated it was not easy to disassociate himself from him because of the transactional nature of their relationship. The neighbour helped him by paying him to do some work for him, such as fixing and washing his car and other tasks.

Last week Saturday, Ntlanganiso was asked by his neighbour, who works as a driver, to wash his sneakers. He said the problem started when they went to Education Village to fix the neighbour’s car and were accompanied by the neighbour’s girlfriend.

Ntlanganiso was alone with the neighbour’s girlfriend in the car when he struck up a friendly conversation with her. He said suddenly the neighbour came in and started poking his forehead, asking what they were talking about and what he wanted to do to his girlfriend.

The charred remains of Siphosenkosi Ntlanganiso’s house. PICTURE: BHEKI RADEBE

Ntlanganiso maintained that he did not fight back because he depended on the neighbour to give him a lift home, so he endured the humiliation.

When they went back to Chicken Farm, the neighbour started getting physical, he continued hurling insults at him and accused him of having a thing with his girlfriend. All of this happened while the community was watching according to Ntlanganiso.

“He hit me with a plank all over my body and called me all kinds of insults, saying he also wanted his R1500 sneakers. I had brought the sneakers when I finished washing them, I do not know what he wanted.

“Even then I never fought back. While I was still lying on the ground, in pain, I smelt smoke. Turns out it was my neighbour who knocked down the kitchen door then burned the curtains. The fire spread to the sofa below the window, people came, when they poured water, it was like they were pouring paraffin,” said Ntlanganiso.

I’solezwe lesiXhosa visited Ntlanganiso who only had the clothes he had on in his possession, which he said were donated to him. The house was destroyed, the furniture turned to ashes. His right leg was also burnt when he tried to escape the flames. He said he could not take anything out of the house.

“Oh, my mother’s house! I lived with my mother before she died of Covid-19. I am unemployed, I quit because of my eyesight, I live off a social grant and the money I got from the person who burned this house. I am asking anyone to help improve my home!” said Ntlanganiso.

He said the neighbour’s father encouraged him to open a case against his son because what he did was unacceptable. The case has been opened at the Scenery Park Police Station and is under investigation by detectives. He expressed his displeasure with how slow things are moving because the neighbour has not been arrested, even after he presented all the evidence.

He said that he knows that his arrest will not restore his home, but him getting arrested will satisfy him. Ntlanganiso is staying with a resident, Toneka Sikotshi, who took him in without looking for anything to gain.

He said the committee as well as the councillor have information about what happened to him, and they have decided to look into it even though they have not given anything tangible yet.

Nontlalo Ntlanganiso, who is the Ntlanganiso’s sister and lives with her husband, said what is surprising is that the neighbour has not been arrested. She said they are left homeless; they do not even know when they will fix the house because they are unemployed.

Ntlanganiso said he is currently waiting for a promised batch of clothing from people, and he is thankful for the support.