Shahied Ajam of the D6 Working Committee. Picture: Jack Lestrade/Daily Voice
Cape Town - The District Six Working Committee (D6WC) criticised what it called grandstanding by political parties on the issue of restitution in the historic area.

“Leading up to the elections which, will take place on May 8, every other political party is now suddenly taking walkabouts in District Six and exploiting the restitution issue - or lack thereof - which didn’t happen for over 20 years in that area,” committee chairperson Shahied Ajam said on Sunday.

This week the FF+ visited District Six and issued a statement criticising the government for delays in the restitution process.

Reacting to Ajam FF+ leader Pieter Groenewald said: “There is an election taking place. When the motion for expropriation without compensation was passed last year I also visited the area and was on TV.”

The EFF in the region said they had a walkabout visit planned in the area.

EFF provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego said the party planned to include a District Six visit as part of its election campaigning.

“(Ajam) is right to express frustration, as nothing much has been done. We will take the criticism constructively,” Xego said.

The D6WC, through its legal team, has filed an urgent application at the Randburg Land Claims Court demanding that Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane appear in court personally after the department did not deliver a plan, as ordered by the Western Cape High Court, to speed up the restitution process.

The hearing is expected to take place next week.

“Yes, we concur that land is everything and yes we agree that access to land is paramount. But not when you say it is. We will get our land back ourselves and we will build our own homes, on our own terms,” Ajam said.

On Sunday Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said she would restore District Six - and its people - to their former homes.

Zille was invited to make the keynote address to over 300 claimants at a meeting organised by the District Six Working Committee at the Absa Auditorium of CPUT’s City campus on Sunday.

She also called for Keizergracht to be given back its original name - Hanover Street, adding it’s her dream to see oumas sitting on the stoeps watching their grandkids play in the streets of District Six.

Speaking to claimants, Zille said although land restitution was national government’s responsibility, her office would do what it could to assist.

“I support this court case to hold national government accountable. As premier, I am accountable,” she said.

Ajam of the DSWC urged claimants to attend court and hold national government accountable.

“We want high density homes for all claimants and we cannot wait 20 more years for a development plan. Our vision is to restore our D6 to the tourist jewel it was meant to be,” he says.

There was great support from the mostly senior crowd at the meeting.

One claimant, aged 65, said: “I just want to go home before I die.”

Cape Times and Daily Voice