The mistaken transfer of a tennis court is having undue consequences for the restitution process in Claremont, according to the Claremont Beneficiary Trust. Claimants whose families were forcibly removed from the area as a result of the old Group Areas Act have been forced to endure a further delay of well over a year to be properly restituted, a result of the mix-up.
Similar to the process in District Six, former Claremont residents formed a committee in 1996 in a bid to bound together and submit claims. While a substantial amount of families opted for a financial pay-out, around 60-65 chose the option of land. The land in question identified to house these families is situated in and around Bowwood Road.
“There was a huge ceremony in Bowwood Road (in May 2014) and the minister, Gugile Nkwinti was there. The idea was to hand over the title deeds to us but unfortunately on the day the minister said there was a delay regarding the deeds,” explained trust chairperson, Mogamad Esau.
A report back meeting was eventually held this past weekend with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, where claimants were informed of a dispute that certain parts of the land were not meant to be included in the process. According to him, the property/properties in question were transferred from the City of Cape Town to the Land Claims Commission unwittingly, with no clear resolve in site.
“It really puts the whole thing backwards again, and it is just unfortunate. We were just about to develop the land, which is ours, but they are now saying there is city lands as well,” he stated.
He added that during the meeting a resolve was made to establish a task team that would meet with Minister Nkwinti, and to try to discuss and work around the issue.
In the meantime, with the land claims process having been reopened for an additional five years, those outside the loop of the process have been urged not to miss the bus this time around.
“Up until 2019 people of all areas, Claremont included, can now submit their claims. They must not let this final chance go by and not submit their claims,” stressed Esau. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)