Walk of remembrance 2017 marks 51 years since District Six was declared a whites-only area. Pictures: Ayanda Ndamane

Cape Town - A group of people who were forcibly removed from Bonteheuwel in 1958 by the apartheid government are looking forward to being settled in Heideveld soon.

The group attended the Commission of Restitution of Land Rights’ urban development dialogue in Cape Town this week.

Anne Adams, 80, said Bonteheuwel was known as Jakkalsvlei in the 1950s. 

“Our house was located next to the N2 and we had a huge property. It was in the 1950s that the apartheid government came to our house and told us that we must move. And in 1958 we moved to Surrey Estate. All our homes were demolished after we left. The township of Bonteheuwel was later built. A few years ago we lodged our claims and we received a piece of land in Welcome Estate in Heideveld, where we will be building houses. We look forward to moving into our new homes,” she said. 

At the urban development dialogue, chief land claims commissioner Nomfundo Ntloko-Gobodo said they had received 163 000 new applications for the new year. Of the 80 000 national, old land claim applications, 771 still needed to be settled in urban areas.

“In urban areas it is important to create standard partnerships with municipalities so that projects are sustainable, meaning after we supply the claimants with their land the municipalities provide bulk infrastructure and housing. The houses can be privately built or people can access housing subsidies. But we also need the government and the private sector to work together." 

She said the 108 new houses which will be built in District Six will be completed in April. 

“District Six is a unique example of restitution in this country. People were able to return to the area,” she said.   

Cindy Benyane, acting deputy land claims commissioner, explained while many land restitution beneficiaries chose financial compensation as an option, some chose original land which was sometimes accompanied by some form of development. 

“Instead of financial compensation, land restitution beneficiaries will be encouraged to choose land as it is key to poverty alleviation.

“In order to attain sustainable development settlements, the commission will have to adopt some of the resolutions of the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro. There should be an integrated development that focuses on adequate shelter for all, sustainable use of energy, residential planning and economic development. Due to the efficient and effective development of urban areas, it aids in the good health of the economy and to meeting the needs of the urban population that is growing at an alarming rate,” Benyane said.   

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Cape Argus