More than 10 000 claimants aligned with the District Six Working Committee (D6WC), are planning to take launch a court bid against the Land Claims Commissions, in a bid to redress what the representative body has described as a ‘much flawed’ restitution process. The group has noted alleged cases of corruption and inadequacies, as being amongst the major motivational factors behind the decision to pursue court action.
According to D6WC chairman, Shahied Ajam, said they were seeking to take matters into their own hands, in order to force government action to address the concerns of the claimants.
“They want the minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti, to buy up all the vacant lands in District Six, as well as the land that was bought by investors after the people were evicted,” he explained.
Another point of issue was the manner in which claimants were being treated when submitting their claims, with Ajam singling out the Mowbray lodgment offices for failing to treat them with “dignity and respect”.
Claimants have also sought action from current City of Cape Town mayor, Patricia de Lille, calling on her to place a moratorium on any and all developments in the area, as well as bring an end to negotiations with companies in the private sector seeking to lease the Goodhope Centre.
“She must consult with the people of District Six, with regards to us taking ownership of the Good Hope Centre,” he stated, adding that all of the demands were well in line with what the constitution prescribed in terms of the claimant’s rights.
Despite the magnitude of the demands, he said the people were determined to take the leap in order to reclaim ‘what was rightfully theirs’.
“Our forefathers were also found fathers of this City of Cape Town. They helped build and construct many of these places. So that is our legacy, and that is what we want back,” he stressed.
The D6WC have thus far sought legal counsel in order to determine what steps are to be taken, to ensure they demands of the claimants are met. Ajam said it was important to take cognizance of the fact that many of the elderly claimants, those desperately seeking to return to their rightful homes, were already beginning to die off. Thus the claimants could simply not wait any longer to be verified and validated, before returning to the area.
He further alluded to approaches to both the Constitutional Court, as well as the Offices of the Public Protector.
The D6WC will be hosting a mass public meeting on the 14th March at the Blackpool Sports Hall, Salt River. Committee affiliated claimants have been advised to attend the meeting. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)