Plan to resettle District Six claimants plods along
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Cape Town - The standing committee on human settlements met virtually to discuss various communication strategies for the District Six Land Restitution public participation process.
Standing committee chairperson Matlhodi Maseko said the legislature has resolved to hear directly from beneficiaries, with the aim of Wednesday’s meeting to find out what approach would be best to take.
Matlhodi said she received communication from seniors asking for some indication with regard to the restitution, stating that their only wish was to return to District Six before their deaths.
The District Six community will be able to share their experiences and any issues related to the restitution process.
Once the committee has received all public submissions, their issues will be raised with the national Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development responsible for the construction and claims of beneficiaries.
Maseko said: “We have seen continued delays in District Six housing projects since ground broke there more than two decades ago.
“In the latest line of delays, it has been more than five months since 108 families were expected to move into the Phase 3 project on Hanover Street, with the (department) offering every excuse and no time frame on when beneficiaries, many of them in the 80s and 90s, can expect to move home.
“However, Phase 3 is not the only or the last housing project for District Six, and delays at this site have a knock-on effect for other projects. These delays ultimately deny dignity and justice to residents who have been waiting on the national government to get its house in order.”
Maseko said the national department, on numerous occasions, has declined the opportunity to provide an update on the restitution process.
The standing committee said the public participation process would be as far-reaching and inclusive as possible, with the process advertised through newspapers, radio adverts, and communication through approaching District Six community groups.
Member of the Legislature Andricus van der Westhuizen proposed a multi-pronged approach to reaching the intended beneficiaries.
“Time is of the essence. Many of those people are quite old now. Many of them have passed on now. Unfortunately, they have never seen the relief that they've been waiting for for decades now.
“I think we don't have time to waste and we must try every avenue we can think of to try and get some movement and answers in that regard.”
Previously, department spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said the 108 claimants had been identified and those who had accepted the dwelling had signed the acceptance letters and completed the settlement agreements.
Ngcobo said beneficiaries would be informed of the occupation date.
Meanwhile, the District 6 working committee said through its lawyers that it would be placing further pressure on the state over the ongoing delays in the restitution process.