The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza has responded to a 17 December 2019 deadline placed by the Land Claims Court. After years of court battles with the District Six Working Committee, the Minister finally submitted a detailed plan on the redevelopment of the District Six to the Lands Claim Court.
District Six history is articulated finely in the epoch of forced removals. Approximately 60 000 people resided in District Six comprising of various community groups; coloureds, Indians, black and white. In 1968, the first demolitions occurred under the Groups Area Act which intended to racialise space.
At the turn of democratic dispensation, two restitution claims were submitted in 1994 and 1998 without success.
As early as 2000, a settlement agreement between the City of Cape Town, the District Six Beneficiary Trust and the Department was signed. Thereafter, a lull moment from the department ensued for eternity.
In 2013, the District Six Working Committee was then launched with the mandate from the affected claimants to pile pressure on the Ministry on the promises and agreement reneged on.
Finally, the District Six Working Committee was rewarded by the Land Claims Court in 2018 when it directed the then Minister Maite Nkoana-Shabane to submit a detailed restitution plan to the court by December 2019.
According to the Ministry’s spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo, the department presented the plan to the District Six Working Committee on 14 December 2019.
“Specific to re-development, the construction is to be done in phases and Phase 3 is currently underway aimed to be completed in 2020. Furthermore, the 954 claimants (noting that some claimants may still opt for financial compensation) are still awaiting dwellings as part of the re-development process and this matter is being currently addressed through a court process” he said.
Part of the detailed plan includes provision of the funding instrument to be used, timeframes and implementation including the methodology to applied in allocating residential units to the claimants.
“These claims were processed and researched so that restoration and compensation could be offered to the claimants” said the department
53 years since the fatal removal of the original inhabitants, the government has finally made amends. The apartheid president PW Botha once remarked that the District Six was a “blot which the government has cleaned up and will continue to clear up.”
The Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa, approved the renaming of Zonnebloem to its original status District Six.