By Paul Nyathi | An eighty year old gogo from Harare’s Arcadia Suburb has been kicked out of her home of nearly thirty five years by the Messenger of the High Court.
Gogo Violet De Souza was evicted by officers from the court into the streets on Wednesday afternoon with all her belongings.
Her offence being for outstanding death taxes that were left unpaid by previous occupants of the house.
ZimEye.com sources close to the old lady indicated that gogo Desouza moved into the house in 1994 when her late husband was bought the house by his employer as a retirement gratuity.
“A year ago the courts started pestering the old lady about the death taxes of the previous owners,” said a source who claimed to be a close neighbour to the old lady.
“Apparently she did not understand the papers from the courts until she saw people from the courts coming to evict her yesterday claiming that the house had been sold to recover the taxes,” said the neighbour.
Zimbabwean law requires that the estate of every deceased person be registered with the courts within 14 days from the date of death.
The registration is done by way of completion of a death notice and filing it with the Master of the High Court for a person who was married under the Marriage Act (Chapter 5:11), or who left a will; and with the Magistrates’ Courts for a person who was married under the Customary Marriages Act (Chapter 5:07) or was in an unregistered customary law union.
The person expected to complete and file the death notice is the next of kin or connection who stays near or at the place that the deceased passed away.
If these are not available to register the estate, the person who at or immediately after death has chief charge of the house or the place at which the death occurred is expected to complete the death notice which is the provision that incriminated gogo Desouza as they appear not to have executed a change of ownership of the property when they moved in.
A death certificate is not a requirement to register an estate unless the master calls upon the person registering to produce it.
It is a criminal offence to fail to register the estate of a deceased person.
Speaking to ZimEye.com on the matter, human rights activist who is also an aspiring parliamentary candidate for the area, Linda Masarire, said that the courts will need to revisit the old lady’s case as the eviction of the lady contradicts her constitutional rights to the property.
“Our ethics and character as a nation should be judged by the way we treat the elderly citizenry in our communities,” she said.
“The national objectives cited in the constitution of Zimbabwe is quite specific on section 21 In upholding the rights of the elderly. Evicting this 80 yr old granny flies in the face of these constitutional provisions besides being morally ubsurd,” added Masarire.
“The old granny should be allowed to enjoy the right to shelter which is part of our constitution. Being evicted should be the last thing to be expected by the elderly.”
Asked on what interventions they have taken as human rights activists for the old lady, Masarire said that they had sourced a tent for the old lady in case it rains as she is staying outside the property at the gate.
Masarire also indicated that they have engaged a human rights lawyer for the old lady who has since met with the lady and will be filing an urgent case at the High Court to get the lady back into her property.
Gogo Desouza is adamant never to leave the property vowing to die staying outside the gate.