Two Ha Hoohlo families have been given a “last warning and chance” to vacate their homes by Monday next week by the new owner of the properties, believed to be Maseru-based businessman Ashraf Abubaker.
The Matjama and Ngwenya families have, “for months”, been fighting the Asian businessman for ownership of the properties, which he reportedly bought through public auction in 2011.
However, the two families have since received letters informing them to move off the adjacent properties by 10am, on 18 August.
The letters read: “Kindly be informed that this is the last warning and chance to vacate this property and remove all your belongings by Monday, 18th August 2014, by 10am.
Thank you for your cooperation. (Signed) Owner of this property.”
According to Seponcho Matjama, this was the second such letter the two families have received this year.
“I first heard about this letter when my brother’s wife, ‘Mamoshoeshoe Ngwenya, called my son to come and take the note from her home last week.
“However, my son refused to take the letter, saying it had not been delivered to our home because we never sold this land at any given point in time.
“But on Thursday last week, when I came home, I found the same note that my son had refused to take from ‘Mamoshoeshoe, pushed under my door,” Mr Matjama said.
“We know that it’s Ashraf Abubaker who sent this note because he has been claiming that this site is his for months now.
“We now live in fear and have reported the case to our lawyer, as well as the Member of Parliament (MP) for this area and the police, and asked for protection, but Abubaker continues to insist that we should leave.
“This site is very big; it’s bigger than a football pitch, and this man wants to take it; we understand he wants to build a warehouse here and also establish a second-hand car dealership, but this is the only home we have ever known and we will not leave.
“Whoever comes to evict my family on Monday will find us here, and we are not going to vacate the property no-matter what happens, even if it means being killed here on our land.”
Ms Ngwenya, who was bedridden when the Lesotho Times visited her home on Tuesday afternoon due to illness, also said she had no intentions of leaving her residence.
“This man is making us live in fear and we need help and protection from the government, because as far as we are concerned, this is our land and we never sold it,” Ms Ngwenya said.
“You can see that I am very sick, so if he sends people to evict us on Monday, they will find me still here; I will not go anywhere because this is my home.
“I’m already dying and I’m going to die here. I will not go and die in the streets because of a foreigner. I fail to understand why Basotho continue to suffer in their own country because of foreigners.
“We don’t even want his money because we don’t know where we will live after selling the site.”
Contacted for comment, Mr Abubaker said the two properties were not his “personally” but belonged to companies where he is a director.
“Look, if you want to know more about the sites, go to the Land Administration Authority (LAA) and they will give you all the information you might need.
Those people who work at the LAA are very efficient and they will help you get the truth and not me,” Mr Abubaker said.
“I will not waste my time answering such questions. I will only answer to the courts and not the media.”
Asked what would happen should the two families refuse to vacate the properties by Monday’s deadline, Mr Abubaker said: “We will cross that bridge when we get to it.
“That time has to come first and then we will decide what needs to be done, based on the situation at hand.
“But those people just need to leave that place; it doesn’t belong to them, that is all.”