District Six: Didiza passes the buck onto claimants
Cape Town - Land reform and rural development minister Thoko Didiza on Wednesday passed the hot potato of the redevelopment of District Six to the various interest groups involved, challenging them to come up with a development framework.
Didiza met with all stakeholders to engage in discussions on a way forward for District Six.
This was Didiza’s second engagement with the interest groups, which represent 5000 claimants. Didiza gave each group homework to come up with a conceptual framework for the redevelopment of the area.
Tania Kleinhans-Cedras, chairperson of the District Six advocacy group, said: “The development framework can only be justifiable based on the right to ownership of land.”
Kleinhans-Cedras also slammed the department for trying to eject the media from the meeting.
“The court matter is in the public domain and therefore the obligation of the department to meet the requirements as set out in the court order and cannot be done in private,” she said.
The minister’s first engagement took place in July, when claimants from the District Six Working Committee were locked in a class action lawsuit against the government over its failure to deliver restitution 25 years into democracy. A judgment earlier this month ruled that the department failed to comply with a court order to draft a plan to redevelop District Six.
The court also ruled that the department, currently headed by Didiza, had failed to comply with the order.
Chairperson of the District Six Working Committee, Shahied Ajam said: “We also agreed there are a few other boxes that need unpacking but the most important one to tick off would be the box which speaks directly to the outstanding 900 odd claimants who have been waiting for more than 20 years to return to District Six.
“The minister is due to report to the Land Claims Court again on August 29, as per the November 2018 ruling by Judge Jody Kollapen and I’m quite sure this time she’s eager to do so.”
Department spokesperson Phuti Mabelebele said: “The department is trying to sort out a number of issues and once we resolve those issues we will respond accordingly.”