Family gets interdict to prevent eviction from Pistorius trust house

2015-03-08 06:00

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A single mother and her terminally ill daughter (8) on Friday obtained an interdict against harassment and eviction from their house, which belongs to a trust that holds some of the interests of the well-known Pistorius family.

The Pretoria North Magistrates’ Court granted the order under the Protection from Harassment Act.

This comes after the child, who is dependent on an oxygen tank, was literally led out of the house by her arm two weeks ago, begging: “Mommy, don’t let them take my room.”

The house belongs to the Theodore Pistorius Children’s Trust, a family trust with Oscar Pistorius’ uncle Theo at the helm. This Pistorius family business entity owns at least 11 properties, according to deeds office records.

The drama started in January, when Alta Farmer and her daughter, Tiana, went to Durban for a holiday with money collected for them by friends. It was Tiana’s dream to see the sea, perhaps for the first and last time.

According to Alta, when they returned on January 21 they found the locks of the house in Annlin, Pretoria North, had been changed. Only then did she realise her ex-boyfriend had not paid the December rent of R6 000 after he moved out, she explained.

She says she immediately asked Huurkor, the rental agency, if she could pay the outstanding rent in two instalments, because she could not afford to pay it all at once.

In an email made available to City Press sister publication, Rapport, Ursula Dorfling, Theo Pistorius’ personal assistant, said “no arrangements for paying off in instalments or anything of the sort will be accepted”.

Farmer’s lawyer, Justin Steyn, intervened so they could move into the house again, but on February 23 workers again arrived at the house in an attempt to change the locks.

That was when Tiana was removed from the house with her oxygen machine.

“How could anyone be so cruel?” an emotional Alta said last week.

Her attorney again intervened, but by then Alta had received more than one notice that she had to vacate the house by March 30.

Tiana was diagnosed with pulmonary alveolar proteinosis, a rare lung disease, at birth. She had less than a year to live if she did not have a double lung transplant urgently, Alta explained.

According to Alta’s Huurkor account statement, she paid the rent for January and February, but admitted the December rent had not yet been paid.

The single mother of two says she simply can’t afford to pay the December rent in a single payment.

Alta says Dorfling is aware of her financial dilemma and Tiana’s physical condition.

Dorfling declined to comment.

“It’s very bad. My child only has so long to live, and now they are making it so difficult for her,” Alta said.

She is also worried that the recent stress is bad for Tiana’s weakened heart and could cause a heart attack.

Steyn believes Huurkor is acting illegally.

“Alta has never received any written notice of breach of contract. Huurkor have also not yet applied to the court for an eviction order.”

In response to an enquiry, Theo Pistorius on Thursday thanked Rapport for “caring”. He said there were “many” tenants and he was not aware of this specific case, but these allegations were “disturbing”.

“I will look into the matter personally. The instructions to my office are to stop all actions against the tenant until a full investigation has been done.

“We can’t change the world, but we must try our best.”

Pistorius, who is currently in Botswana, had hardly said this when workers again arrived at the house with an eviction notice. Steyn then approached the court on behalf of his client for an interdict.

Huurkor denied through their lawyer Bernhard van Zyl that they had not followed the necessary procedures and said that, as the tenant was in arrears with the rent, they were obliged to protect the Pistorius family trust’s interests.

“The required notice was sent to the tenant and the tenant was fully aware of the terms of the lease,” said Van Zyl.

The agency also denied that they were aware of Tiana’s physical condition.

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