The previous Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has formally received a personal costs order from the Land Claims Court due to her failure to take appropriate action in addressing the issue of restitution in District Six. Acting judge president of the Land Claims Court, Yasmin Meer found that the former minister of the department had been “grossly unreasonable” in carrying out her mandated tasks relating to District Six and that she failed to comply with previous court instructions related to the matter. Meanwhile, chairperson of the District Six Working Committee, Shahied Ajam is elated at the decision and is optimistic about the future.
“It was a watershed moment in the history of the new democratic South Africa,” said a jubilant Ajam.
“Now, the entire developmental process will fall under the supervision of the court. The minister has to file three monthly reports on the progress made in District Six and that in itself is something monumental…it is now definitely on the cards that the people are coming back to District Six.”
Ajam says that now that claimants know they are “going home,” they should exercise patience and wait for the plan to materialise within the following months.
“Three months from now, the minister will have to produce something tangible to the court to prove that the plan has been worked on – which was never the case in the last 20 years,” he said.
“Now that people know they are going home, they should practice some patience and wait for the plan to come about.”
Ajam has indicated that out of 42 hectares in District Six, only 36 are left for redevelopment. On the remaining 36 hectares, over 5000 families require a home.
Ajam has therefore urged claimants to think of redevelopment in terms of practicality and modernity.
“We know there’s only 36 left of 42 hectares in District Six. So, we have to reconstruct and design homes for about 5000 families – including retail places, parks and recreational places and educational facilities,” said Ajam.
“We must collectively come up with a brilliant plan.”
The minister has shown her eagerness to finally resolve this issue, according to Ajam, and he hopes that she will not have to be held accountable in a similar fashion in future.