District Six Working Committee co-chairperson Zahrah Nordien. District Six land claimants who were supposed to move back in April have now been told there is a special committee that has to check who is eligible for return. Picture: Armand Hough African News Agency (ANA)
District Six Working Committee co-chairperson Zahrah Nordien. District Six land claimants who were supposed to move back in April have now been told there is a special committee that has to check who is eligible for return. Picture: Armand Hough African News Agency (ANA)

District Six returnees face yet another hurdle in quest for restitution

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Mar 11, 2021

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Cape Town - The District Six Working Committee (D6WC) has been informed that a separate committee has been established to ascertain the eligibility of land claimants for return.

The D6WC was informed by the Department of Rural Development and Land reform on Tuesday, and of a month's delay for Phase 3 returnees.

Around 108 families were scheduled to return at the end of April into the newly-built units in Hanover Street. The units were earmarked for claimants who applied for restitution between 1995-1998.

The D6WC co-chairperson Zahrah Nordien said the government has three years to complete restitution claims made between 1995-1998, according to the High court ruling in 2019, of which there are around 975.

“That is what we found out after so many emails that we sent to the commissioner and the minister. The D6WC need to be a part of this, to oversee who is going to move in.

“We need to know and we need to see the list because we do have on our database people that are 100-years old, in their 90s and in their late 80s. People are dying off. At the end of the day there will only be youngsters moving in and they don't have a clue about what was life like when forcibly removed to townships.”

Those set to return in May are currently being vetted by the committee.

Between 2014-2018, there were around 3 000 claimants.

“They are really moving slowly and it is up to government to speed up the process and obey the ruling of the court.”

One of the main concerns raised by the D6WC is if the units are disabled-friendly, as those who will be returning are among the elderly and frail.

D6WC spokesperson Karen Breytenbach said: “We are told by the Land Claims Commission that a special committee was appointed who are now deliberating about which claimants will get onto the return list.

“We are told they use a special formula to ensure the selection process is fair. About 25% of spaces will go to particularly vulnerable, disabled and elderly claimants, while 75% will be allocated to longest-standing claims, in other words ‘first come first served’,” said Breytenbach.

“As a committee we are worried that some of the most indigent people might have fallen off the government’s radar, and we’ll be sharing our concerns to the senior officials in the coming week or two.”

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform is yet to respond to queries.

Cape Argus

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