File picture: Yandisa Monakali/DIRCO
Cape Town - Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will be showing the provincial legislature the middle finger for the third time as she once again indicated that she won’t appear before them to answer questions around District Six.

This will be the third time the standing committee on human settlements has requested the minister to appear and answer questions. If she fails to appear today, the standing committee said they would subpoena her.

“We have been asking the minister to come and account for the money, and she has to be held accountable,” committee chairperson Matlhodi Maseko said.

Nkoana-Mashabane has been asked to address the R366.6 million discrepancy between the R700m grant promised in the District Six Business Development Plan and the alleged total budget of R333.3m declared by the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights.

She’s also been asked to answer why the land claims of 1062 beneficiaries remain outstanding, why financial compensation for an unknown number of claimants remains outstanding and why the claims of 110 would-be beneficiaries were dismissed.

“The communication we have received so far is that the minister will probably not be present. This is a direct indication that District Six is not one of the minister’s priorities and she is not committed,” Maseko said.

Nkoana-Mashabane was appointed rural development minister in February. She was previously the minister of international relations and co-operation.

Her spokesperson did not disclose whether the minister herself would be present but said the “department” would be attending.

Last month, the Phase 3 development of the District Six land reform programme was due to be completed, but it was halted due to the tender for Durban-based Fikile Construction having been terminated.

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 in the Johannesburg Land Claims Court last month.

[email protected]

Cape Argus