From the news desk

Possible changes to D6 redevelopment process

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An influx of new claimants in the District Six restitution process has necessitated the need for a redress of the area’s redevelopment. With the claims process having reopened in July 2014, more than 5000 new applicants have since registered for restitution in the area.

This prompted the District Six Working Committee (D6WC) to meet with Land Claims Commissioner Michael Worsnip, and the District Six Reference Group, which oversees the third stage of development, to address the current state of the process.

“Remember they have made provisions for about 1500 people who were left from the first round, to move into District Six once developments have started. That cannot be any longer because more and more people are now registering for restitution, which means we now have to look at the bigger picture,” explained Shahied Ajam, D6WC chairman.

Ajam said committee were fairly excited at the prospect of the redevelopment process being redressed, potentially paving the way for other reference groups to come on board and make a contribution. Because of the limited availability of land currently allocated for redevelopment in District Six, he said it was likely alternative land would be sought in and around the areas to cater for the newcomers.

Ajam added that as part of the D6WC’s plans, they were hoping to replace the current scenario of individual claimants selecting one of three restitution options, namely the accepting of monetary compensation, the return to the land from which they were dispossessed, or the accepting of land in an alternative location. Instead, the committee were hoping to have claimants treated as communities, and afforded all three choices collectively.

“We have to look at communities rather than individuals, and this is what urban restitution is all about. People have to remember they were evicted in masses and not one by one. That means they must get together once and for all, to speak with one voice and to show solidarity towards this cause of restitution,” he suggested.

Recently the D6WC have also come to an agreement with the parish council of the St Philips Trust Foundation in Lower District Six, which has availed its old school building as a permanent base for the committee. The new offices of the D6WC will allow it to kick-start its various ‘social development programmes’, according to Ajam.

“We will kick-start programmes such as our interfaith interactions, and the economic development (processes). These are exciting times for the people of District Six, and Cape Town,” he added.

The D6WC will officially be operating from its new premises from the 1st August onwards. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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