Family shocked after builders 'smash' home

2010-09-08 00:00

A FAMILY in Umtentweni on the south coast was left devastated on Monday evening when the windows and doors of their new house were smashed out by the building team that had installed them.

Shereen Vermuelen (24) and her husband, Victor, have been building a house since May for themselves and their one-year-old baby, Jayden.

The couple are expect another baby in four months.

A south coast business owned by local businessman Sam Lakhim had been paid part of a fee of R9 500 to install the doors and windows of the house.

Cheryl McInnes, who is Shereen’s mother and a co-owner of the house, said a written agreement was signed by both parties stating that any existing faults would be fixed by Lakhim’s team in a period that he had determined.

McInnes added that, after the work had been completed, an inspector from the South African Local Government Association (Salga) had found numerous faults.

Lakhim allegedly threatened Shereen Vermuelen when she queried the faults with him.

“He told me to sleep with one eye open and that he would bring a lot of misery to my new home,” she said.

Vermuelen and McInnes were called by a neighbour on Monday evening to be told that there was a team of builders causing damage to the house.

As a result, Vermuelen and her family are unable to move into their new house. “It is so unfair that this man gets to ruin my dream home,” she said. “I’m devasta­ted.”

Lakhim flatly denied that he had threatened Vermuelen, explaining that his team had removed the windows and doors at the request of the family.

“After the faults had been identified, they asked me to take out the windows and doors and refund the money,” he explained.

“Why would we in our right minds build windows and then take them out?” he asked. “We’d lose money. She must be careful with what she says.”

McInnis said she has opened a case of damage to property and intimidation against Lakhim, but at the time of going to press this information could not be confirmed.

She said Lakhim’s explanation of the story is quite incorrect. “We have a written agreement with him,” she said. “He was supposed to meet an inspector from Salga on Friday to discuss the faults, not knock down our house.”

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