The District Six Working Committee (D6WC) is determined to enter the second round of the restitution process with the aim of rectifying the mistakes of its predecessors, and bringing about “true restitution”. So says committee chairperson Shahied Ajam, while discussing the current situation of the restitution process in District Six.
According to him, the issue of land restitution was enshrined in the country’s constitution, and declared that any individual dispossessed of property as a result of past discriminatory laws, were entitled to either restitution of that property, or equitable financial redress.
He further stated that when dealing with a lands claim issue, the land claims court was obligated to take in various factors when making a decision on that matter. This included the history of the dispossessed, the current use of the land, and the manner in which that land was acquired.
“If we look at that, then we say the D6WC is bent on coming into the second round of the restitution process with fresh eyes and fresh legs,” he said.
Ajam reaffirmed the organisation’s stance that they should fight for the restitution of the entire 150 hectares, which according to them previously made up the District Six area. This was regardless of who the current owners of the land were and what developments have since taken place on the land. He highlighted in particular the case of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), which owned roughly 49% of that land.
“The CPUT would be good for the District Six community, but since they own 49% of the land in District Six, they definitely have to give most of that land back to the government,” he said.
The committee also intended to take ownership of the Goodhope Centre, as well as other developments currently on the land. He also issued a warning to all current landowner seeking to develop, that they would be looking to take control of all the land that previously constituted the District Six.
“We are not coming in like the reference group that took the small piece of land that was on offer. We are not going to take any handouts from government this time. District Six belongs to the people, and we want to talk about the full 150 hectares.
If we are going to come in as the official reference group for the fourth phase, it means government will have to really listen to the people this time,” he said.
He also questioned the so called predecessors in the restitution process, saying the system was flawed from the beginning. He highlighted the injustices on those who received a meagre compensation for their land during the previous process.
“Was there any justice in that? So all of these things will be redressed by the D6WC. We are not coming in as new claimants alone, we are going to redress every injustice that was done to the people since 13 years ago,” he said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)