On Wednesday, hundreds of aggrieved claimants will march to the Mayor’s office to voice their disapproval with the land claims process in District Six. The march is being organised by the District 6 Working Committee (D6WC) and represents all unsatisfied land claimants and many of whom are well over pension age.
At 11am, demonstrators will depart from Kaizergracht Street, in front of CPUT, to march to Mayor De Lille’s office to hand over a memorandum addressing a number of issues relating to the ‘slow and corrupt’ land restitution process.
D6WC chairman, Shahied Ajam says that these delaying tactics reflect the City’s apathy towards the poorer people of Cape Town. The march follows a mass meeting held in October, where members were urged to stay strong in their fight for social justice.
Ajam says that since the Western Cape Land Claims Commission falls under the watch of local government, the City of Cape Town should be held accountable for the “delaying the claims process; the unethical (and illegal) sale of land in District Six while restitution in the area was still very much underway; for not ensuring that land claims were handled both justly and equitably from the start, thereby perpetuating the continued marginalization of the poor of our city.”
“We urgently need the National Land Claims Commissioner to speed up the slow claims verification process. That is not acceptable at all. It’s preposterous that validation of claims still takes so long, when one considers that a sophisticated electronic verification process has been in use since 2014. Why are the authorities deliberately delaying this process?”
Ajam says that the claimants have the law on their side, and that the “time for piecemeal handouts has passed”. He says that his members want answers and positive action, and they will not stop until this happens.
“Many claimants are dead and many more are dying, yet the City refuses to restore their dignity or their rights.”
He has slammed local government for continuing to stall on the development of District Six because “it doesn’t suit their plan for commercialisation of the area.”
Ajam attributes the displacement and indignity that people are currently experiencing as the root causes of the social troubles in the Western Cape.
When will the City understand and accept that apartheid was a crime against humanity and that this tragic legacy needs to be at the heart of decision-making? Haven’t our people suffered enough at the hands of callous governments?”
“One just has to look at the volatile situation on the Cape Flats and in the townships to see how much havoc this legacy has already wreaked. Crime statistics reveal that even our young children are being lured to gang life, and if they manage to escape that, chances are they will fall prey to drugs, prostitution, or get killed in the crossfire during the regular gang wars that plague the Flats. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any grand-scale plan for a solution in sight. Is the City cognisant of the depth of suffering in apartheid’s ghettos, which were specifically created to force our people into submission, or are they simply turning a blind eye?
D6WC has joined forces with Bp-Kaap Civic Association, SACTWU, Malay Choir Board Sand a number of other civic organisations to initiate the “Raak Wys/Vuka” campaign to save the Good Hope Centre and District Six land which has been used to build commercial entities, at the expense of the people who were evicted during apartheid.
“The Good Hope Centre falls squarely within the District Six precinct and, contrary to popular belief, it has always been part of District Six. This landmark building, which was legislated as a public space for community purposes, has been serving communities from all walks of life for close to 40 years.”
“After 20 years of democracy, Cape Town remains the most racially segregated city in South Africa, if not in the world and it looks set to remain that way, especially since the CBD is only accessible to the elite who can afford the exorbitant costs of living there. It is clear that transformation is not at work in Cape Town. Many of the City’s former residents are still stuck in the townships and ghettos while local and national government openly ignore the needs of the people. Urban densification with the focus on low cost housing should be implemented immediately in the city and periphery.”
Ajam urged the public to show their support by joining the mass march. VOC