Collapsed ceiling: Distraught family caught in feud between uncle and nephew

2012-04-19 00:00

THE storm that struck Pietermaritzburg two nights ago has left the tenants of a flat in Manor destitute after their ceiling collapsed, destroying their possessions.

The Patel family, who rent the flat, have also been caught in the middle of a family feud between a nephew, who is a member of the trust that owns the place, and his uncle, who is a beneficiary.

Adding to their problems, the Patels said their three children had to be treated for light injuries at Northdale Hospital while their father spent the night in a police cell. Farhaad Patel said police were called in to arrest him for pointing a firearm, which he claims was not true.

“When I was in the holding cells I was not thinking about myself. The only thing I could think about was my family who were left in terrible conditions,” he said. He said his case was thrown out of court yesterday.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said she could not comment as no criminal case had been opened and a case number Patel gave The Witness related to the courts, which were closed by the time of going to press.

The eldest of the Patel children, Safiya Sheik (19), said their problems started when Iqbal Moosa, the feuding uncle, removed a large part of the roof last Saturday, telling them he would replace it as he was busy with renovations.

Then the heavens opened on Tuesday night and the heavy rain caused the ceiling to collapse in some rooms.

“I was so traumatised when I saw the ceiling collapse on me,” said Sheik.

Much of the family’s furniture was destroyed.

The nephew, Irfaan Moosa, said his uncle decided to remove the roof because he wanted bring down the price of the property and the tenants to leave. “My uncle wanted to buy this property [from the trust] at half price,” he said.

“I refused and this was his way of trying to get rid of the tenants.

“My uncle has been very abusive to this family and now he has left them destitute,” he added.

Patel said he had moved his younger children to Ladysmith until they figure out what to do.

The uncle, Iqbal Moosa, was unrepentant and said his nephew had been renting the flat to the Patels illegally.

Meanwhile, the Patels said they had applied to the courts for a protection order against Iqbal Moosa.

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