‘INSULT’: Land claimants have been waiting since 1998, while a tender was awarded to a KZN contractor. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - July was expected to be the month for the Phase 3 development of the District Six land reform programme to be completed, but it has been halted due to the tender for the Durban-based Fikile Construction company having been terminated.

“I call again on the Minister of Rural Development and Land reform, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, to account for the public funds wasted on this project between 2015 and 2017, when Fikile Construction was in possession of the project tender. I further call on the minister to explain these delays to the District Six land claimants in the Western Cape,” said MPL and chairperson of the standing committee on human settlements Matlhodi Maseko.

The department found that Fikile Construction was incapable of rendering the services necessary, years after having been awarded the tender by the National Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

Maseko said, to add insult to injury, it emerged that Fikile Construction was a Durban-based company. “The department could have used this project to award a tender in the Western Cape and create jobs for locals involved,” she said

After 20 years, the National Department of Rural Development and Land reform is still holding the rights of the District Six community. The contract with Fikile Construction was terminated as a result of the firm’s failure to comply with its contractual obligations, forcing the company to abandon the project two years into the tender.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform is currently the development manager for District Six Phase 3, co-ordinating the development of only 108 units for the eligible beneficiaries from the remaining 1062 claimants still waiting. The entire project was expected to be completed this month, but it has allocated only 139 homes to date.

“I call on the department to draft a new tender process and make the time lines available to claimants and the public. The department, through its principal agent, should verify the existing work done by Fikile Construction and once that process has been finalised, a new specification, bill of quantities and tender documents must be drafted. A new tender process must then follow and its time lines must be made available at a later stage,” she said.

Plans are afoot to subpoena Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to appear before the provincial government to compel her to answer questions on the land restitution of District Six claimants

A court battle is looming between advocacy group the District Six Working Committee and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform after the committee filed a court application over the department’s failure to provide restitution to District Six claimants since 1998.

The application was lodged last month in the Land Claims Court in Johannesburg.

In court papers it is stated that the national government and the commission have a constitutional obligation to observe the Bill of Rights, which includes the right to restitution.

The committee is representing 969 claimants and 22 respondents are listed. Of the claimants, 70 are elderly.

Meanwhile, landowners who are still waiting to be compensated for their property have also, as a last resort, approached the court as they want to be compensated for two massive developments that are under way in District Six.

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Cape Argus