Popular PMB samoosa seller fights eviction by uncle

2012-03-02 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG hawker Khalil Omar, who sells samoosas at the Parklane shopping centre, is embroiled in a legal battle to prevent his eviction from the flat where he has lived for 23 years.

Local law firm Lister & Lister has stepped in to help him, free of charge, to oppose the eviction application, which came before the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

The case was postponed indefinitely for additional affidavits to be filed and a court date to be set.

Seeking Omar’s eviction following the death of his mother in 2005, are his uncle, Yusuf Mahomed, and cousins Imraan and Irshad Edris, who are businessmen and members of Eddzul Centre CC, which claims ownership of the block of flats where Omar lives.

Omar alleges that his late grandfather, Mahomed Edris — who originally bought the land on which the flats were built at 555 Pietermaritz Street (in the name of James Street Investments) — came to the assistance of his family and granted his mother and her children the right to live there rent-free for the rest of their lives.

He maintained that if evicted he would have no place to go and could not afford rent, while Eddzul CC was a commercial entity and could afford to service a bond of around R7,1 million on the property.

Omar said in court papers he was illiterate and earned about R2 000 per month selling samoosas.

He said he and his mother had never paid “a single cent of rent” and it was with “absolute shock” that he received a lawyer’s letter after her death in May 2006 giving him 30 days to vacate the flat or pay rent of R1 750 per month.

Omar’s cousin, Irshad Edris, maintained in court papers that Omar’s contention that he was entitled to stay there rent-free was “fabricated” and a figment of his “warped imagination”.

Edris said in an affidavit his father had out of the goodness of his heart allowed his late sister (Omar’s mother) to live in the flat free of charge during her lifetime.

Omar, who “always seemed to be out of luck … became an accidental and unintended beneficiary of my father’s generosity,” he said.

Edris said that after Omar’s mother died his “freebie existence” was reviewed and his father decided it was time he started paying for the accommodation he enjoyed.

By May 2006 the firm needed the flat to “further its business objectives, which entailed property investments”, he added.

Edris said Omar had been given an option at one point of accepting alternative accommodation — which his father had been willing to provide — or remaining in the flat at a rental of R1 750 per month.

He alleged Omar elected to stay and pay rent as required, but failed to make payments.

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