District Six restitution, redevelopment resume after months of delay
Cape Town – District Six Working Committee (D6WC) claimants have expressed satisfaction that restitution and redevelopment appeared to be on track despite the delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than 100 claimants, joined by government officials, held an in-person meeting yesterday for the first time since before the lockdown.
Due to constraints on the numbers of people at gatherings under lockdown level 1, it was a registration-only event.
The day began with a tribute to late D6WC chairperson Shahied Ajam by spokesperson Karen Breytenbach. Ajam, a humanitarian leader who fought for restitution for District Six land claimants, died of a heart attack in June, at the age of 62.
“Through his tireless work, the reconstruction of new housing units was finally on the cards for late 2020 and, as you can see when you drive through District 6, there is a lot of work happening right now.
“Thanks to Shahied’s tireless work, D6WC has become an important guiding light in the redevelopment of the new, reimagined District Six we all dream of,” said Breytenbach.
Husain Khatib, deputy director of special projects in the Department of Land Reform, said phase three of the development that the department is building would see the completion of 108 units on site Q.
“We are currently at 85% complete on those units. Unfortunately, the site was closed between March 25 and June 1 due to the hard lockdown and level four.
“With work resumed in June; we have now got a completion date of April 2021. It was previously the end of December 2020.
“When it came to level 3, we were able to work, but with certain health and safety protocols in place, and that had an impact on the overall productivity on site.
“This delayed the project by about four months, but we are very hopeful and looking forward to the handover of the 108 units in April 2021.”
D6WC attorney Nicki van’t Riet said the government had started prioritising District Six and they were seeing actual movement towards the implementation of the development.
“We consider the action that has been taken so far to be, by and large, reasonable within the limits it has faced this year. We will continue to monitor the progress closely,” said Van’t Riet.