Public Works Minister Patrica de Lille with Janap Solomon, 86, a claimant from the Hadjie Solomon Family Trust who lodged a claim for the Constantia land in 1994. Picture: Supplied
Cape Town - Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille has made a bold promise to release 100 parcels of land for restitution.

De Lille was speaking at the opening of the Constantia Emporium shopping centre development by the Hadjie Solomon family, who lodged a claim for the land in 1994.

Their claim was finalised in 2010 and the family received the title deed to their land in Constantia in 2012.

“Homes and families were ripped apart by the Group Areas Act and the course of lives of thousands of families in South Africa changed forever when they were removed from areas like Constantia, Bishopscourt and District Six,” De Lille said.

“In my current role as Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, my department is also responsible for transferring land currently in our custodianship that has been claimed in restitution cases.

“My department is part of the rapid land release programme that also includes land restitution, land redistribution and land tenure.

“In the last financial year, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure released 51 parcels of land for restitution,” De Lille said. She said the department was now in the process of releasing 100 parcels of land for restitution to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, to transfer land back to claimants.

“I’m committed to ensuring that we fast-track this process. As an activist who fought against apartheid it’s my great honour to serve our country,” De Lille said.

The Hadjie Abdullah Solomon Family Trust submitted development plans back in 2016 to allow the Shoprite Checkers property division to build a R250million retail centre across two properties bounded by Kendal, Spaanschemat and Ladies Mile roads.

The other property belonged to the Hadji Ismail Solomon Family Trust and would be consolidated for the purpose of development.

Checkers would be the major tenant, leasing the land from the trusts for a twice renewable 10-year period. But the Constantia Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association rejected the plans and decided to go to court.

The association raised concerns about a shopping mall in the middle of a residentially zoned area.

Earlier this month, judgment was handed down in the Western Cape High Court that ruled against the association, and costs were awarded against it.

The association said: “It was decided to prepare an appeal and at the same time negotiate a settlement with the Solomon Trusts, Shoprite Checkers and the City (the respondents). The respondents agreed to abandon the costs order and in exchange the association withdrew its application for leave to appeal.

“The matter is now closed.”

Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille has made a bold promise to release 100 parcels of land for restitution. Video: Supplied
Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille has made a bold promise to release 100 parcels of land for restitution. Video: Supplied
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