TOWERING MOMENT: Zainab Williams was born in Aspeling Street, District Six, before being removed by the apartheid government.

Cape Town - Today marks the anniversary when District Six was declared a "whites-only" area the District Six Working Committee (D6WC) will be hosting a commemorative event at the Castle of Good Hope.

More than 500 dignitaries from all tiers of government, business, the judiciary, and civil society are expected to attend the event, to meet 300 of the current 3500 restitution claimants face to face. They are expected to discuss their return and to rebuilt neighbourhood in the next three years.

Among some of the dignitaries expected to be present is a representative from the president's office, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, a representative from the office of the Premier, and Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato are expected to attend.

The event follows a recent court victory in the Western Cape High Court by the D6WC and its 3500 claimants, to compel the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to produce a viable and sustainable development plan for District Six. 

They are expected back in court on 26 February 2019. Construction is intended to be completed in three years. 

"The place called District Six has endured much pain over the years, but she is ready for a revival. We are particularly deeply concerned about the plight of those who remain excluded from housing opportunities to which they are entitled, in the inner part of the city, in particular, our young (District 6 descendants), who want to come back, to work and send their children to good schools in the city," said Shahied Ajam, the chairperson of the working committee. 

He said the committee is determined to not only provide the claimants with land restitution, but to also advocate for spatial justice and to move people closer to opportunities.

It was 53 years since residents were forcibly removed by the apartheid regime from the area. Back in February 11, 1966, the apartheid government declared District Six a “whites-only” area under the Group Areas Act of 1950.

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Cape Argus