South African Soldiers Assault Nigerian Woman, Send Her Out of Her House – FIJ
Aderonke Ololade Matsaung, a Nigerian, was assaulted and humiliated by members of the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) in Durban, South Africa, on February 9.
She told FIJ that about a hundred SANDF soldiers stormed and raided her house at about 7 am, when she and her children were still asleep.
According to Ololade, the army allocated the house to her estranged husband when they arrived in South Africa from Nigeria in 1996.
Matsaung said the soldiers claimed she sold illegal substances in her apartment and also accused her of turning the house into a brothel.
“At the end of the raid, they found no evidence to support their false allegations against me. They humiliated me and my kids. The soldiers traumatised us and ransacked the entire house. They carted away all our belongings and the goods I sell to support my family,” she told FIJ.
Matsaung believes the attack on her was deliberate because she is a Nigerian. She said she divorced her husband, Richard Matsaung, a member of the SANDF, because of his infidelity.
“He moved out and left me and the children, who are South Africans by birth,” she told FIJ.
BACKGROUND OF MATSAUNG’S PROBLEMS
Reacting, the Nigeria Union South Africa (NUSA) pleaded with the South African government to ensure that justice is served in Matsaung’s case.
The group’s president, Collins Mgbo, said he had approached the government for justice. He said he had faith in South Africa’s justice system.
Mgbo stated that Matsaung met her husband at the Federal College of Education, Osiela, Abeokuta, Ogun State, in 1990 and, after their marriage, they travelled back to South Africa in 1996.
He claimed that they had three children and lived in an area named Massgrave in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
Mgbo alleged that in 2012, Richard went home and did not return for almost a month. He said Matsaung later learned that the army had moved him to Johannesburg. She realised he was living with another lady at Dornkop military post, South Gate.
The development left Matsung despondent and under medication for high blood pressure.
“At a point, they divorced. During the process of divorce, the family advocate had to interview the children to know where they would prefer to be, either with the mother or the father. The oldest child, 12, told the advocate that living with their father was a hell,” Mgbo said in a press release.
“She was given custody of the children. After the divorce, the court gave him an order to pay her R12,000 a month for maintenance of the children, but he didn’t honour the court’s decision. On the 9th of February, 2022, a group of soldiers and police, numbering over 100, broke into the house where they were staying and took everything in the house and chased the family out of the house.”
He also said that the children have no place to stay. They are at different places.
“They got into the house while she was undressed, with a gun on her head, and took away all her clothes, curtains, underwear, and medication. She is on medication for high blood pressure, which she takes three times a day, but for the past three days, she could not take her medication. Unfortunately, when she went to the toilet yesterday, she discovered she was passing a red substance,” Mgbo’s statement reads.
“The army had taken away her dignity. They had intimidated her and her young children and grandchild, who was only two years old. They have threatened to shoot her if she takes pictures. Now she is ill, and we don’t know what will become of her and her children tomorrow.”
“We are calling on the Department of Justice, Office of the Public Protector, SA Human Rights Commission, Nigerian Government and South African Government to intervene in the matter and restore the dignity of the woman who took care of a SA military personnel in exile and her children. We have faith in the justice system of South Africa and pray that justice is served irrespective of nationality and gender.’’
When FIJ contacted SANDF via one of their lines, it did not connect. At press time, they had not responded to a text message sent to them.