As the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, is expected to submit a conceptual plan to the Land Claims Court for the redevelopment of District Six today, Shahied Ajam of the District Six Working Committee has reminded claimants that the court will only approve the plan if all the claimants are satisfied that it meets the requirements. In order for implementation of the plan to come to fruition sooner, rather than later, there needs to be a united voice speaking for District Six.
The plan to be submitted is also expected to include detailed guides relating to funding, construction time frames and the allocation of residential units to claimants.
“What we expect is that the court order, as given in November 2018, will be fulfilled in its entirety with regards to the conceptual layout…We want to see whether the minister will in fact comply, in full, with the court order,” said Ajam.
“The minute the plan is filed with the court today I would encourage every claimant to obtain a copy…we now have to speak with a unified voice to government.”
After litigation brought by the District Six Working Committee, Didiza’s predecessor Maite-Nkoana Mashabane agreed to provide a copy of the Framework Plan by February 2019 in a court order by consent, handed down by Judge Jody Kollapen in late 2018. However, after missing this deadline, the court issued a punitive costs order against her for her role in the District Six delays.
Ajam envisions the implementation of the plans and for people to start moving in within a two to three year period. He says that claimants and stakeholders can achieve completion of the entire development within three years – if everybody comes together and speaks with a unified voice.
Ajam has also indicated that the current minister has come to the party and put significant effort into the District Six development issue.
However, despite the excitement, Ajam stressed that “we must remember: this whole litigation is not only about 954 claimants outstanding but about 73426 people who were dispossessed as of 11 February 1966…the fact that 954 claimants are going to benefit initially with upmarket apartments is one thing, but we must not forget the struggle for justice by everybody who was dispossessed in District Six.”