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History will be made on Saturday when the Land Claims Commission hands over acres of land to the community of Oakford in Verulam, north of Durban, in what will mark the acceleration of land reform in the province.
This significant step takes place only weeks after President Thabo Mbeki's announcement that the deadline for settling land claims would be extended a further three years.
Initially, the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights was expected to settle all land claims by the end of this year.
But, because of the slow pace of land reform and perceived resistance from private land-owners, Mbeki, in his state of the nation address extended the deadline, as it became clear that the commission would not meet the deadline.
The spokesperson for the commission in KwaZulu-Natal, Zwelihle Memela, said what made this settlement unique was that it was the first in KwaZulu-Natal in which a church was involved.
"The land is jointly owned by the Roman Catholic Church and the Dominican Association. The ceremony will coincide with the launch of three months of land delivery, which will mark the acceleration of land reform.
"This is in keeping with the fact that from April to June the government will focus on land delivery."
Memela said the commission had already worked on a number of projects in the province which were ready to be handed over to the beneficiaries.
"In this project, about 150 households had their lives disrupted as a result of racially-based land dispossession in the 1960s," Memela said.
"The removals were carried out in terms of Chapter Four of the Development Trust and Land Act of 1936 (Act No. 18 of 1936).
"These families, who resided on the Roode Krans No. 828 farm, continued to live there and ignored the said Act."
The Oakford mission was asked to comply with the Act . During the 1960s the state regarded Black people residing on mission stations in so-called white areas as "illegal squatters", since they were neither labour tenants nor employees of the owners.
He said the Prevention of Illegal Squatting Act No 51 of 1952 was then used to eject these families from the land without compensation.
"The claimant community had lost their belongings and were forced to seek alternative land and shelter," he said.
Memela said the state had committed R9 426 954 million towards the settlement of this claim, which had been used to purchase 1 232ha of land.
"The land is currently being used for sugar cane farming and grazing and the Oakland community have made a commitment to sustain the existing farming operations," Memela said.
He said next week the commission would hand over 2 000ha of land to more than 1 000 beneficiaries at Umzumbe, on the South Coast.