People’s Post Woodstock/Maitland 20151110

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  • WOODSTOCK | MAITLAND

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    TUESDAY 10 November 2015 | 0021 910 6500 | Fax: 021 910 6501/06 | Email: post@peoplespost.co.za

    About 200 people marched to the Civic Centre

    demanding their land in District Six back, saying

    they have waited long enough and they want

    to die on their land. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

    DISTRICT SIX

    Restitution failed

    TIYESE JERANJI

    @jeranji

    E

    very month I go visit the land that

    was taken from us by force. It tears

    my heart when I see what the city

    is doing to District Six. They are building,

    but they dont want to give us our land

    back.

    These were the words of a teary Bahia

    Abrahams as she marched with 200 other

    people to the Civic Centre in the city centre

    to demand their land. The march was orga-

    nised by the District Six Working Commit-

    tee to addressmayor Patricia de Lille so that

    they could make some progress in getting

    their land back. Abrahamss family had

    been forcefully removed from District Six.

    She now lives in Mitchells Plain.

    The protesters handed over a memoran-

    dum of grievances of 16 pages. They said

    they wanted an answer within seven work-

    ing days, because they had waited for too

    long.

    Abrahams said she wanted to die in Dis-

    trict Six. Theymust take us back where we

    belong. I grew up in District Six and thats

    where I want to die. Nothing is being done

    about the land, instead they keep building

    for their own benefit. Its a shame, when we

    lived in District Six we were so happy but

    bymoving us they took our happiness away.

    If the City doesnt listen to us this time

    around we will go squat on the land. It be-

    longs to us. Until when should we wait?

    Darawiesa deVilliers, another land claim-

    ant who is living in Lentegeur, said they

    wanted their land back because that is

    where their livelihood was.

    They promised us that we will have the

    land but we are still waiting. We cant wait

    any longer. Our lives are there. We have

    memorises there. The Citymust act now; we

    are tired of empty promises, she said.

    There are claims that initially 150 hectare

    of land was supposed to be given back to the

    people, but with the City building on it they

    only have 42 hectare left, which is not

    enough for the people who were forcefully

    removed from the area.

    Shahied Ajam, chairperson of the District

    SixWorkingCommittee, says its practically

    impossible to compensate for the injustices

    done through the Natives Land and Group

    Areas acts.

    V Continued on page 2.

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  • PEOPLE'S POST | WOODSTOCK | MAITLAND

    Tuesday, 10 November 2015

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    No amount of money can ever compensate

    for the amount of indignities inflicted upon

    the people on the grounds of the colour of

    their skin. It is equally impossible to imag-

    ine how, for 21 years into democracy in the

    new South Africa, a previously disenfran-

    chised people, who were disposed of their

    rights and forcibly evicted fromtheirhomes

    in the apartheid era, have not yet been prop-

    erly restituted.Moreover, it is unacceptable

    that people continue to suffer humiliation

    andpersonal setbacks,when theyhavebeen

    deprived of their basic human rights for so

    long, he says.

    Thememorandum includes a proposal for

    holistic remedies and calls on the City of

    Cape Town to act.

    Since corruption crept into the first

    round with the flopped housing develop-

    ment scheme, a forensic audit should be

    conducted into how the housing allocation

    to residents presently occupying houses in

    District Six was done. We want a fast-track-

    ing of things, because the people cant wait

    any longer.

    The mayor must be brave enough to ad-

    mit that urban restitution, particularly in

    the case of District Six, has been a failure.

    Local, provincial and national government

    should now become proactive in their ef-

    forts to restore the peoples dignity before

    it is too late, sincemanyclaimants are elder-

    ly and fear that justice may not be brought

    in their lifetime, says Ajam.

    Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, a represent-

    ative of the mayors office, accepted the

    memorandum.

    We will look into and respond, but it has

    been communicated that this is not the

    Citys matter but of the department of rural

    development and land reform. The City has

    done what it was supposed to do and land

    has been released to the national govern-

    ment, so everything lies with it. However,

    we will help them follow the right channels

    but the people who are marching are the

    very samepeoplewho are blocking opportu-

    nities for others.

    Ian Neilson, deputy mayor, says the City

    released 42 hectare of available, City-owned

    land to the department of rural develop-

    ment and land reform in 2000 and has bud-

    geted for service provision. He adds that it

    is the department that decides which devel-

    opment option to pursue and drives the

    process to determine which applicants are

    beneficiaries.

    FROM PAGE 1

    Firefighters warn of easy sparks

    NICOLE MCCAIN

    @nickymccain

    A

    s fire season officially starts

    thismonth, theVolunteerWild-

    fire Services (VWS) is calling on

    Capetonians to be fire aware.

    Always assume that awil