Cape Town - Eighty-four years after the Brickles family’s Elfindale land in Diep River was dispossessed by Punt farmers in 1938, the family has finally successfully reclaimed it.
They on Tuesday celebrated the land restitution 25 years after their initial claim was made.
In 1971, when their three houses on the property were demolished and the family forcibly removed, the Brickles had scattered all over, said Eric Brickles, a claimant.
“We came from a decent family and some of us drifted apart and ended up not knowing each other. It is sad that this has happened and getting the land back is a big issue for us. We are going to do something on the property so that each member of the Brickles family benefits from the development,” he said.
Brickles said the youngest of his father’s siblings died last year at the age of 95, and only six out of his 10 siblings were still alive.
Family spokesperson Greg Brickles said the property of roughly 5 000 square metres had been a wasteland for years.
“My father and his brother started this process about 25 years ago, and about 10 years ago he passed the baton to me as he was getting tired of the process. The process was massive and long.
“From the initial evaluation, they offered us R40 000, and then R240 000, which was the last offer. However, we were not interested in the money but wanted the land. There were many ups and downs and eventually it got to the stage where they decided they were going to give the land back and the restitution process started,” he said.
Brickles, who spoke of how his forefathers lost the land, said the 25-year-old battle had proven to be worth it. He said the family considered a housing development on the property.
“This is prime property with houses in the neighbourhood averaging between R3 million and R5 million. We’ve approached a few property developers and are keen on a housing development here.
“We’re happy because now we’ve got a base to start from. Whatever development that would come up here, we want it to be named after the Brickles surname,” he said.
The mayoral committee member for human settlements, Malusi Booi, said the City was as excited as the Brickles because it meant their dignity had been restored.
“When these dispositions were happening, people were forcefully removed and their dignity was compromised. Although it’s generations later, at least they now know that they got their land back.
“There are several families that we have restored land to in the city. We had done more than three, only in the sub-council and we have a lot of them (claims) that are coming through the system.
“Part of what we do is that after the process of the land reform department, with our process almost at the tail end, we assist claimants in terms of the site claimed and in terms of the paperwork that is acquired from our side, but over and above that, the resolution of council to them to affirm that this is indeed their land,” Booi said.