50 years after District Six forced removals, land claims 'complicated'
It’s 50 years since inner-city District Six in Cape Town was declared an area for white people and the bulldozers moved in‚ forcibly removing 60 000 people from their homes into townships.
It’s 22 years since the Restitution of Land Right Act was passed and the land reform process is still underway.
Minister of Rural development and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti on Thursday paid tribute to “the people of District Six‚ for their resilience and fortitude over 50 years of struggle”. But despite theirs being among the first land claims to be prioritised by the new democratic government‚ it has been “among the most complex claims to settle”‚ he said.
Nkwinti listed the reasons for this:
- Difficulties in tracing claimants;
- Complex administrative processes in cases where the dispossessed are deceased;
- Some claimants who opted for financial compensation changed their minds‚ or the descendants battled to agree among themselves;
- Establishing structures for consultation with the claimants was time-consuming;
- The developer shifted from the District 6 Beneficiary Trust to the land reform department
- A new reference group was nominated to represent claimants; and
- The reference group had to be consulted on all regulatory planning approvals.
In addition‚ the chance to lodge a claim was reopened in July 2014 and so far 1 300 new claims have been submitted.
A total of 2670 restitution claims were submitted by the end of 1998. Of these‚ 1 439 claimants opted for financial compensation (receiving R39.7 million in total) and 1 126 claimants wanted to return to the District Six.
Nkwinti said that in 2004‚ 24 homes were handed over to elderly residents. In 2012 a total of 115 homes were delivered.
At present 108 homes are being built.