Plans are afoot to subpoena Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to appear before the provincial government. Picture: Yandisa Monakali, DIRCO
Cape Town - Plans are afoot to subpoena Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to appear before the provincial government to compel her to answer questions on the land restitution of District Six claimants.

“Our standing committee chairperson of human settlements, the honourable Matlhodi Maseko, has invited the minister to appear before the committee again later this month. Should she fail to appear, we will be obliged to subpoena her,” chief whip in the Western Cape provincial parliament Mark Wiley said.

Nkoana-Mashabane was invited to appear before the portfolio committee on numerous occasions to explain the current status regarding District Six.

She failed to appear personally on all of these occasions but sent a contingency team on June 20 to give a presentation.

“This landmark land restitution project now remains unresolved for 24 years. The former residents are repeatedly denied restitution and empty promises remain the order of the day,” Wiley said

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 against 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 under way in the area. Residents have also accused the District Six Beneficiary Trust of corruption and selling their land to wealthy developers.

Spokesperson for the department Mashile Mokolo said: “Let them invite the minister and we can take it from there.”

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Cape Argus