NO WAY OUT: Fifty people in Alex are completely trapped in their yard

Everson Luhanga

It’s tricky, it’s tough, it’s wow!

More than 50 people from different families in Alexandra have been locked up with no entry point as all the gates they used to use have been closed by their neighbours who claim they don’t want footsteps in their yards especially when they are sleeping.

Now the people have no choice but to jump the high walls which are over six feet tall and shaky.

Among them are a heavily pregnant woman, a 93-year-old gogo and school children.

The 50 are from different families with their own houses but clustered in one compound.

Resident Mpho Ntombela said from 13 June 2021, anyone leaving and entering the yard has to use a step ladder to climb the tall walls and use the same ladders to come down on the other side.

Mpho said the closure of the last fourth gate by her neighbours has affected people.

“It sounds funny to tell someone that I cannot report to work because I am unable to jump the wall. People will laugh at you. Your bosses will think you are playing with your job. But this is far from a joke but a painful reality of it,” she said.

Those who risk by jumping, then get to the other side of the wall as if they didn’t bathe.

Mpho said initially, the yard had four entry points. The first entry was closed in 1998 by a neighbour who said he didn’t want people walking into his yard as he won’t know who is a thug and who is innocently walking through it.

“We then turned to the northern side of the entry which we didn’t use because most people used to get robbed by criminals. And then, the owner didn’t like that as well. So, he closed that in December 2014.”

On 29 May 2021, another entry was closed by a neighbour from the eastern entry point who was not happy with the constant movement of the people. “At this point, we had one last entry point which was in the west of the yard.

“But for us to go out, we had to go through the roof and down on the steps of a double story house next to our yard,” he said.

“But then, that too has been closed, making us live in a congested yard with over 50 people . We became prisoners in our own homes” she said.

Salome Phoshoko said she doesn’t know what will happen to the heavily pregnant woman when her time to give birth is due. “How will we get her to the ambulance?”

“What will happen if the 97-year-old magogo needs to get vaccinated or if she is sick and needs to go to the hospital. Children haven’t been going to school for over two weeks now. We need help,” said Salome.