Rape victim battles mounting bills

THE Pumula East teenager who was raped by her uncle at the age of 15 before she was abandoned by relatives has mounting electricity bills and power at the house could be cut off anytime, it has emerged.

NDUDUZO TSHUMA
STAFF REPORTER

Raped-at-15Last week Southern Eye carried a story highlighting the plight of the 17-year-old mother of one who now suffers from cervical cancer as a result of the sexual assault.

The uncle, now 33, is serving a 20-year jail term for rape and the teenager told Southern Eye that her maternal relatives once kicked her out of her late mother’s house for reporting the rape to the police.

Her father died when she was very young and she does not know any of his relatives.

Her mother passed away in 2008 leaving her in the care of the rapist uncle.

She gets $100 from lodgers she shares her late mother’s house with, but pays $80 in utility bills every month from the rentals leaving her with $20 as disposable income.

Trinity Project, an organisation that has been assisting the young woman with her mother’s estate, said the teenager also needs help in fees for execution of the estate.

Pumulani Mpofu, the project manager at Trinity Project, said she needs more than $400 for the execution of the estate that would lead to the transfer of the house to her name.

“She owes more than $1 000 in electricity bills and as we speak, she might be disconnected,” he said.

“The water bill has not been cleared and she needs assistance. There is money that has to be paid, like advertising to debtors and creditors, in the execution of the estate as well as transfer fees and other costs that amount to almost $400.”

Mpofu said the organisation was rendering its services for free, but did not have the money to pay for the fees and electricity bills.
“She would need assistance in that,” he said.

Mpofu raised the need for the judicial system to be sensitive to orphans and child-headed families in issues to do with handling of estates.

“We encountered a number of challenges for us to be appointed executors of the estate.

“Relatives were required to write a letter appointing us, but none was co-operative,” he said.

“Only her grandmother agreed to assist us once. At one time we had to present her case to the magistrate so that special consideration be applied because relatives were not co-operative.

“The government needs to look into this issue and make sure that orphans and child-headed families are protected,” Mpofu added.

According to a recent Bulawayo City Council report, the local authority’s welfare department is assessing the teen’s plight.

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