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Relief for Bokaap’s Aunty Latiefa

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An elderly Bo-Kaap resident fought the fierce Cape Town weather conditions in her dilapidated home in Bo-Kaap for 50 years. The struggle for 79 year old, Latiefa Fagodien is now over after the City of Cape Town offered to renovate her home and assist her in the process for complete ownership. However, Fagodien’s niece, Mutheerah Fortune says the City offered her aunt the opportunity to move to Blikkiesdorp some years ago as the modest structure on Chiappini Street began crumbling.

But the feisty senior refused to relocate, as Bo-Kaap is her only home.

“We as the family are always worried about her state in that house. There is no electricity. Winter is the worst for her. The rain comes in through the front door. She’s had to sell all her furniture because it kept getting damaged by the rain,” Fortune explained.

On Thursday, received news that she would receive the title deed to the property from the council. Fortune told VOC News that after so many years, her aunt can finally rest assured that her home will not be taken away from her.

“We are very happy for my aunt. She’s chosen to live alone for so many years; even after her husband and child passed she refused to leave her home. We are all happy that she can finally live in a house with electricity and proper doors. Even her toilet does not have a door on it,” Fortune further added.

But the real heroes are Fagodien’s neighbours.

“My aunt has so many people who care for her there. Some neighbours help her with laundry because she doesn’t have a washing machine. There are neighbours who take her to receive her social grant every month and even neighbours who make sure she has a warm meal to eat at night,” Fortune continued.

The city’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements Bennedicta Van Minnen says work on renovating the home will begin soon:

“The matter was all the more urgent as, despite our offers of alternative accommodation, our Bo-Kaap tenant refused to move. Hence, we were in constant contact with the relevant stakeholders to see how we could resolve this situation.”

The City said that it hopes that this could lead the way for the resolution of similar cases which the City has been investigating. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)

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