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Zille promises to help D6 claimants

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District Six claimants have called for Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to explain herself after her department failed to adhere to the Land Claims Court ruling that they must deliver a “holistic” development plan for the area. At a meeting held at the CPUT campus in District Six on Sunday, Premier Hellen Zille and Mayoral committee member for environmental and special planning Marian Nieuwoudt informed D6 residents that they will do all they can to restore faith in D6.

“The meeting was a huge success for all especially restitution claimants. We achieved a major milestone. We have two key players who pledged their financial resources as well as infrastructure into getting D6 done as fast as they can,” said D6 Working Committee Chairperson Shahied Ajam.

Ajam says the national government must be held accountable for failing District Six claimants.

The claimants are heading to the court again on April 17, to force the minister to explain to the court why her department was in contempt of the court order.

“Our legal team, Norton Rose Fulbright is ready. We are ready and urge people to make their way to the court at 8:30 so that we can start picketing outside the court to show solidarity with the people of D6,” he said.

“Twenty years is a very long time to wait for dignity to be restored in the area. There is an urgency and emphasis that should be placed so that government can see that we are will not wait another twenty years for claimants to be seen to, it is time D6 becomes a priority,” he said

Zille said that she hoped that the national Department of Rural Development and Land Reform came up with a framework plan for the District Six community.

“It is very important for the department to come up with the framework plan, the draft budget and the time lines that the District Six working committee is demanding,” Zille said.

But Zille also laid the blame on the claimants for the backlog. She said a lack of consensus and differences between the various organisations in District Six has been contributing towards the delays in construction.

“Government has to come up with a plan but if the community and different committees, that claim to represent the people, can’t find each other, it’s very hard to fulfil the requirement of going through public participation to implement that plan,” said Zille.

She added that she was not attending the meeting in a political capacity.

“I reject the idea that District Six should be turned into a political football; that is why I completely agree that this is not a political meeting, we have to talk about the technical processes and significant acceleration of restitution,” she said. VOC

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