D6WC spokesperson Karen Breytenbach said the delays have become “truly untenable”. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency
D6WC spokesperson Karen Breytenbach said the delays have become “truly untenable”. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency

District Six Working Committee to put squeeze on government for dragging land restitution

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Sep 13, 2021

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Cape Town - The District Six Working Committee (D6WC) has expressed concerns over the ongoing delays in the return of land to claimants, and says it will be exerting further legal pressure on the government in a bid to speed up the lagging process.

Last week, the D6WC, representing more than 3 000 land claimants met its legal team, Norton Rose Fulbright, to discuss a way forward following months of delays.

D6WC spokesperson Karen Breytenbach said the delays have become “truly untenable”.

“The many delays we’ve seen with the current third phase of the District Six restitution project over the past year are not only holding up other parties and parts of the greater restitution process, but are causing grave, repeated distress to the already traumatised claimant community.”

The D6WC’s legal team said it would be writing to Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Thoko Didiza and her senior legal team to request that they urgently address previously raised concerns in its upcoming progress report to the Land Claims Court, due on Friday.

The D6WC with its legal team will also request an urgent meeting with Didiza to discuss the concerns and how these will be resolved.

Around 108 beneficiaries in the phase 3 of the restitution process are yet to receive news on when they will be returning to the new complex at Hanover Street. The move was expected to take place in March, however, was met with several postponements.

“The department offered new excuses for the delays each month, ranging from the pandemic, to the weather, to construction issues and administrative issues. Now they are shifting the blame onto the City for reasons unknown to the D6WC.

“Many of our claimants are in their 80s and 90s, and Mrs Shariefa Khan is 100, and have had their suitcases packed for months. They are losing hope in the entire process. Their dreams are crumbling before their very eyes. The state owes them answers, and greater respect,” said Breytenbach.

DALRRD spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said: “The 108 claimants have been identified and those who have accepted the dwelling have signed the acceptance letters and completed the settlement agreements. They will be informed of the occupation date.”

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