Chairperson of the District Six Working Committee said If all goes well, the last of the remaining claimants in District Six could move into their new homes within three years. View from Constitution Street. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA
Chairperson of the District Six Working Committee said If all goes well, the last of the remaining claimants in District Six could move into their new homes within three years. View from Constitution Street. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA

District Six claimants new hope for justice

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Dec 17, 2019

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Cape Town - If all goes well, the last of the remaining claimants in District Six could move into their new homes within three years, said Shahied Ajam, chairperson of the District Six Working Committee, who met Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Thoko Didiza on Saturday, and reported back to the claimants on Sunday.

“Our team has been able to work out our own time-frame, and we have found that with a collaborated effort with the City and the national government we will be able to complete the first phase of the development, using everyone’s resources,” Ajam said.

However, Ajam warned that factionalism within the community could stall the development.

“There are still many angry groupings and we have witnessed this. We can only move forward once we all speak with a collective voice. I will always extend an olive branch to them. But we need to agree on this, because if we don’t we will wait even longer to return to the area,” he warned.

Didiza is expected to submit the “framework plan” as part of the District Six restitution process. The submission comes after litigation brought by the working committee against Didiza’s predecessor, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who agreed to provide a copy of the framework plan by February this year, after an order granted by Judge Jody Kollapen in 2018. After missing this deadline, the court issued a punitive costs order against the minister for her role in the District Six delays.

The framework plan is one of the most crucial plans in the District Six restitution case. It means the state can be held to the budget and time-frames stipulated, to ensure that the redevelopment of the remaining dwellings of the 954 claimants who filed their claims in 1998 is finalised early next year. Once these claimants have their dwellings, the 2014 to 2016 claimants, numbering around 1500 people will be next on the state’s agenda.

Ajam said: “We are pleased to inform our members that the plan is a work in progress and we can see a concerted effort by Minister Didiza to meet the court deadline and requirements. We have been advised by our attorneys that the plan needs to provide further clarity on the conceptual layout, budget, funding and time-frames before it complies with the court order. We have raised our concerns and are hopeful that this will be adequately addressed by December 17 (today).”

In terms of the court order, the framework plan that Didiza must submit today, must include a detailed conceptual layout for the redevelopment of District Six. “If we are unable to reach consensus before the 17th and the revised plan fails we would be left with no alternative but to bring another court application,” Ajam said.

Rural Development and Land Reform spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said: “This is a ministerial process, we cannot say much at this stage. We are preparing to file on Tuesday (today) until then we will only be able to comment further on this matter once the court papers have been filed.”

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus

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