A former police colonel who has been squatting illegally in a police house for years, even using the kitchen cupboards as firewood, has been finally evicted.
Acting Judge Anthony Millar this week granted a final order to the Police Minister, giving former Lieutenant Colonel Lesiba Legoabe a month to vacate the police house in Elardus Park where he had been living for the past 14 years.
The sheriff was authorised to evict him, if necessary with the help of the police if he refused to leave.
The judge rejected Legoabe’s claim that he was entitled to stay on in the house as he had been dismissed for “political reasons” and an investigation into the matter was at such a sensitive stage that he could not disclose any details.
The police denied any knowledge of such an investigation. The judge said Legoabe’s dismissal was unimpeachable and he was clearly no longer entitled to occupy the property.
According to court papers Legoabe was fired in March 2015 for being absent from work for over two years without authorisation or leave of absence.
The head of the police’s immovable assets unit Col Moses Mashele said in an affidavit Legoabe had failed to present for duty, despite repeated requests to do so and ignored his disciplinary hearing, whereafter he was found guilty of misconduct and dismissed.
He said Legoabe had ignored all requests to return state property and to vacate the house since July 2015.
According to Mashele, Legoabe was continuously vandalising the property. He had removed the kitchen cupboards for firewood, apparently made a large fire in the garage every night and allowed the yard to become overgrown to such an extent that it became a harbour for criminals, snakes and rats.
Many of the windows in the house were broken and the water and electricity had been cut off years ago, resulting in Legoabe having to resort to unconventional means for heat to survive.
Mashele said the current condition of the property posed a health and safety risk to neighbours and there was a danger of a serious community backlash which would could most likely cause community unrest and result in further damage to the property.