The debate around restitution and the land claim process has in recent months garnered much attention, particularly following the Constitutional Court Ruling on Land Restitution. The Court ruled that the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act was invalid and that Parliament did not follow proper consultation. In light of recent events, the District Six Working Committee has launched a public petition and organized a march on Heritage Day, calling for government to certify District Six a national heritage site and to prevent the continued usurping of land by private developers.
Speaking to VOC, anti-Apartheid activist, Horst Kleinschmidt explains that government has not pronounced District Six a heritage site due to a lack of political.
He says that this is evident in the fact that the families, who were forcibly removed under the Apartheid regime, in 1966, were never provided with restitution.
“Where that restitution can take place is being reduced from 150 hectares to 42 hectares, which means they have lost 72 per cent of the land that could be used for possible restitution,” Kleinschmidt stated.
Given the struggle against gentrification within the Cape, Kleinschmidt urges Capetonians to end the continued usurping of land by private developers and establish a comprehensive plan in line with the rights of the claimants.
As a resident of Cape Town himself, he asserts that the plight of District Six claimants is not a superficial scar, but instead runs deep and that the area is reflected upon as a vital piece of their identity.
“That should not just be their hurt, but it should be a wound that we across Cape Town express our support for, especially ‘white folk’ who have benefitted from apartheid,” Kleinschmidt stated.
In light of criticism against the call for the area to be certified a heritage site, he says that critics in all likelihood view the land as prime property and a place of possible lucrative business opportunities.
“It speaks against an integrated Cape Town and against us redressing the issues that Apartheid has caused, both in racial and in class terms,” Kleinschmidt added.
Kleinschmidt encourages all Capetonians, particularly white South Africans who have benefitted from Apartheid, to sign the petition and to join the peaceful march as means to heed the call and show their solidarity.
The march will begin at the Grand Parade, in the CBD, at 12pm on Heritage Day, September 24, 2016. The march will be accompanied by the Cape Minstrels.
If you would like to support the initiative and sign the petition, email firstname.lastname@example.org.