Cape Town - The Mamre community will on Tuesday be given the title deeds to 4 200 hectares of farm land taken from their grandparents under the apartheid government more than two decades ago.
The handover by Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti forms part of the town’s Heritage Day celebrations.
“This transfer is a great achievement for the more than 2 000 households that will benefit from from it. It is the first of similar transfers to other rural coloured communities,” the department said.
About 500 families had been forced to sell their land in 1986 to make way for the development of Atlantis.
In June, Nkwinti signed off 2 443 hectares of land to the Mamre Communal Property Association after a successful claim in 2010. The department filed papers at the provincial deeds office for the land to be transferred to the association.
Since the late 1990s, while the claimants waited, a group of farmers began illegally occupying the land and told authorities they wanted a guarantee of relocation.
Of the 23 cases relating to land under the Transformation of Certain Rural Areas Act of 1998 reported nationally, 12 were in the Western Cape.
Mamre Communal Property Association chairman Avram January said the community were “overwhelmed with emotions” to finally be given the land.
“We are very excited. We as a community are busy rewriting history. Getting this land will allow the community to make a living for themselves.”
Rural Development and Land Reform regional spokesman Vuyani Nkasayi said: “The land is now officially under the community’s name. They will have full access to the land.”
The official handing over of the deed will be followed by a number of sporting and entertainment events in Mamre.
Other Heritage Day celebrations and events in the Western Cape include:
* The Iziko South African Museums will be hosting a number of activities in the Company’s Garden. The activities include free-entry tours from 11am and a yoga class on the Groot Constantia lawns from 10am.
* The annual Stellenbosch Heritage Festival will host a number of sports tournaments including soccer and a cycle race. The event starts at 8am with activities for community members in the town.
* Social development MEC Albert Fritz will participate in the District Six Museum homecoming centre. The event will focus on the “living heritage of the elderly” through story- telling, music and poetry.
* The Springbok rugby team, former captains John Smit and Morné du Plessis, and South African Rugby Union chief executive Jurie Roux, will attend the opening of the Springbok Experience Museum at the V&A Waterfront.