AmaMfengu win R18.8m land claim, Tshwane to gain 4,000 new homes

State also releases land in Cato Manor to the eThekwini metro

24 February 2020 - 09:25 By TimesLIVE
Tshwane will be able to alleviate some of the demand for housing with the release of state-owned land, announced by minister Patricia de Lille.
Tshwane will be able to alleviate some of the demand for housing with the release of state-owned land, announced by minister Patricia de Lille.

Land situated 29km from the Tshwane city centre will be released by government for the municipality to build about 4,000 houses.

The development will benefit the communities of Phomolong, Itereleng and the Hills informal settlements, and will significantly address the housing demand, said Patricia de Lille, minister of public works and infrastructure.

Announcing the release of hundreds of parcels of land for “public good” by her department in recent months, De Lille also announced that several families would benefit from land restitution claims.

One of the biggest winners is in the Eastern Cape, where various state-owned properties in the Humansdorp area have been released to settle the restitution claim by the direct descendants of the Tsitsikamma Development Trust/AmaMfengu community.

The AmaMfengu community settled in the Tsitsikamma area during the Anglo-Xhosa “frontier wars” of 1833 to 1834. The community was dispossessed of its land and forcibly removed from the claimed properties, the department said. The removal was done in terms of the Black Administration Act of 1972. Fifteen other properties under the custodianship of the department were found to be available for the restitution claim.

The 15 properties are more than 4,000 hectares in size. Their value stands at about R18.8m.

Land transferred by the department must be used for human settlements and not for resale to the private sector. This is on a gratis basis subject to various administrative processes and conditions being met.

De Lille said: “Returning land to dispossessed families is one of the fundamental actions we can make to reverse the legacy of apartheid, where people of colour were stripped of their dignity, their land, the right to own land and homes. In this process, families and communities were torn apart when people were displaced and forcibly removed to the outskirts of cities.

“The process of returning land to dispossessed families has been a long one, but one that should be hastened with urgency so that claimants can finally have closure, as they have already waited too long since the land claims process closed in 1998.

“Equally important as the restitution process is land distribution to develop integrated human settlements for those in need, who have been on housing waiting lists for many years. Our country’s history has made our democracy and restoring people’s dignity through giving them a home a cumbersome process, but it is a task that must be expedited. As public servants we have a duty to do everything we can to ensure that we fulfil our mandate, deliver services and undo the vicious legacy of apartheid spatial planning.”

Beneficiaries of other releases of state land signed off by De Lille include:

  • About 2.1 hectares, worth R2.9m, in Cato Manor to the eThekwini municipality for the upgrading and formalisation of an informal settlement.
  • Identified emerging black farmers of portions of the farm Loskop, in the district of Groblersdal, Limpopo.
  • North West: A portion of the farm Booyskraal for a restitution claim by the Madibamantsho community in the Rustenburg district (1,120 hectares, valued at about R4.4m)
  • North West: Restitution to the Baphiring community of land on the farm Rosmincol.
  • Northern Cape: Settlement of the restitution claim by the Doraan family of Upington (market value R3.2m).
  • Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), which will, in turn, release land for the redevelopment of District Six.
  • Mpumalanga: Release of a portion of the farm Valschfontein to Dr JS Moroka municipality for housing.
  • Release of a property in Salvokop, Pretoria, to the department of social development for use as a centre for victims of gender-based violence.

De Lille said the department “will continue to fulfil its mandate with urgency to ensure that where land has been identified for human settlements, redistribution, land tenure and restitution claims, that we will expedite our processes so that no unnecessary delays are experienced with these important projects”.