DISTRICT Six community members attend the meeting in Salt River to discuss a way forward. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has said it would take another 20 years for the restitution process to conclude. Marvin Charles
Cape Town - District Six claimants have called for Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to explain herself after her department failed to adhere to the Land Claims Court ruling that they deliver a “holistic” development plan for the area.

The claimants are heading to the court again on April 17, to force the minister to explain to the court why her department was in contempt of the court order.

Judge Jody Kollapen made a ruling on March 20 for the department to deliver a development plan and programme to the court.

Shahied Ajam, chairperson of the District Six Working Committee, said: “Twenty years after they lodged their claims, 1078 of those claimants (89%) have still not received restitution.

“The minister, the commission and the national government still have no plan to provide those claimants with restitution and they have not said when the claimants will actually receive restitution.”

Last month the Land Claims Court ruled that the government had violated the rights of District Six claimants who lodged claims as far back as 1998, but are still awaiting restitution.

In a far-reaching judgment a day before Human Rights Day, Judge Kollapen granted the claimants a declaratory order, forcing the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to make good on its promise of restitution.

“In court papers, the minister did not comply with that order and instead filed a report with the court on February 26, 2019, which stated that her report does not contain the plan and programme which the court ordered her to deliver by that date.

“What is more astounding is that in her report the minister does not does not explain why she has not complied with the order and it also does not even say when she will deliver the plan she was ordered to deliver.

The District Six Working Committee said: “The minister shows no appreciation of the urgency of fulfilling the rights of the people of District Six, and for us it is not acceptable that 20 years after they lodged their claims, there is still no plan or programme to fulfil their rights.”

Department of Rural Development and Land Reform spokesperson Phuti Mabelebele told the Cape Argus that the plan presented to the court would be a collaboration with various departments in the national government.

“It is our hope that with the assistance of the court we will eventually reach a final settlement agreement for the development and resettlement of the District Six claimants community,” she said.


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Cape Argus