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Cape Town -

A prime property in the heart of Constantia – which could be worth hundreds of millions of rands – has been awarded to a Cape Town family forced out of the leafy suburb 50 years ago.

The Land Claims Court has awarded the Sadien family an 8.9-hectare, state-owned property, partly bordering Brommersvlei Road and Rathfelder Avenue.

Attorney Ighsaan Sadien is a member of the family who helped lodge the case. The property is now being used as a riding school for the disabled.

The family originally owned the Sillery Farm property until they were forced to sell it in 1963. Sillery farm has a prime location in Constantia Road and has previously been estimated to have a potential value of R134 million.

The Sadien family has been given the land after a lengthy court battle and Land Claims case. Three months ago the court first awarded them 10ha of alternative land in Constantia. But they discovered that the piece of land cited in the court order was only 2.6ha, worth about R2.5m, and that it was located more towards Meadowridge than Constantia.

Ighsaan Sadien approached the Land Claims Court seeking clarification. Acting Judge Mokotedi Mpshe has now amended his court order, instead awarding the family the 8.9ha piece of land. His amended order was handed down last month, but only came to light this week.

It was not immediately clear how the property is zoned or its exact worth in its current state. Mike Greeff, founder of Greeff-Christies Properties, said if the property was zoned for residential use, sub-divided into plots the same size as the surrounding erven and installed with services – such as a boundary wall, water and electricity connections, and roads – he would estimate that the property had a potential value of between R210m and R250m.

The property, he said, was located in a prime part of Constantia. “It’s in a beautiful area with stunning, north-facing views,” said Greeff.

Sadien said while it wasn’t exactly 10ha, the family was satisfied.

“We had to go with the 8.9ha land because the court made an error and this is the closest (piece of available land) to what the court decided,” he said. “The family is happy with it.”

His only concern was that there was a horse riding school on the land. According to a sign at an entrance to the property, SA Riding for the Disabled operates on the premises.

The SA Riding for the Disabled Association, however, has not been notified of the decision. “We have a lease in place and we pay rent,” said public liaison Donnaveen Howe. “We’ve had no notification of this and, therefore, cannot comment.”

Sadien said he would meet the City of Cape Town and the Land Claims Commission to address the matter of the riding school, as well as discuss transferring the title deed into the family’s name.

The family was yet to decide what they would do with the land. Most of them wanted to move back and live on the land; however, he expected this would take at least three to five years to materialise.

Dout Sadien originally bought the Sillery Farm in 1902, using it for agricultural purposes. His five sons bought the property from his estate in 1958 for about R22 000, but the family was forced to sell under the Group Areas Act. Jacob Badenhorst bought Sillery for R13 550 in 1963, R8 450 less than the sons paid for it five years earlier. The property is now owned by an entity, of which one of Badenhorst’s descendants is a director, which planned to develop the land.

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Cape Times