The department of rural development and land reform was called to appear before the human settlements standing committee in the Western Cape legislature. Picture: Marvin Charles/Cape Argus

Cape Town - Members of the public were ordered out of a meeting at the Western Cape provincial legislature on Tuesday where the national department of rural development and land reform was to address the standing committee on human settlements.

The standing committee was seeking answers on the current state of land reform in District Six, where some claimants have been waiting for decades for restitution. 

The committee had invited Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to address it voluntarily, or face being subpoenaed.

Upon arrival, the department requested that members of the public and media be excused from the open meeting, as it wished to discuss an ongoing court case involving the District Six Working Committee, aspects of which were still sub judice.

The working committee opened a case in the land reform court in Johannesburg seeking a declaratory order and structural interdict against the State for "failing to provide adequate restitution in District Six since 1998".

The District Six Working Committee represents more than 70 000 people who had been evicted from the area during forced removals under the Group Areas Act.

Working committee chairperson Shahied Ajam was incensed that members of the public would be ejected from an open meeting in the provincial legislature. 

"This is humiliating and it leaves a sour taste in the mouths of the people of District Six. We are here to seek answers and we have not received anything," he said.

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Cape Argus