The District Six land restitution saga is beset by confusion about who is taking responsibility for the settlement of the land claims. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Cape Town - The long-awaited judgement in the District Six restitution will be handed down today, Friday, 2 August.

The matter has been ongoing between the District Six Working Committee (DSWC) and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

“The people of District Six are quite optimistic that the judgment will be in their favour and that the relevant ministry be held accountable.

“This will be a step in the right direction because we look very forward to working with new Minister Thoko Didiza,” said Shahied Ajam, chairperson of the DSWC.

The committee is seeking two forms of relief.

It seeks declaratory relief, which is to provide restitution to the claimants who lodged valid claims by December 31, 1998.

It also wants mandatory relief, and for the department and the commission to provide details of funding and budgeting and progress reports.

In April last year, the DSWC filed a court application against the department’s failure to provide restitution to claimants.

They lodged their application at the Randburg Land Claims Court in Joburg.

The matter was then heard in the Western Cape High Court in November where claimants won their first victory when the court ordered the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to provide a layout plan for the redevelopment of the area.

Judge Jody Kollapen gave the department until February this year to return to court with a clear plan.

In February, the department said, in an affidavit submitted to the Land Claims Court by Rural Development Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, it did not have enough money to finalise the District Six restitution.

Nkoana-Mashabane was then expected to appear before the Land Claims Court in May to explain her failure to comply with a Western Cape High Court order.

When she appeared, she asked the Land Claims Court to grant another “three months-plus” to comply with an earlier court order that she present a holistic plan for redevelopment of District Six to the court, with time frames and an explanation as to how it would be funded.

When she submitted that plan in May, a week before the country took to the polls, she stated in her affidavit that it would eventually cost R11billion to develop District Six, of which R2.4bn would be needed to provide housing for the just fewer than 1000 remaining claimants.

Then, in May again, Nkoana- Mashabane, who was the minister at the time of the court order until the Cabinet was dissolved, said a final “holistic plan” was subject to discussions between the interested parties as there were objections to the draft plan.


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Cape Argus