Mrs Shariefa Khan is 100 has had her suitcases packed for months.
Mrs Shariefa Khan is 100 has had her suitcases packed for months.

New public participation survey for D6 claimants

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Sep 16, 2021

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CAPE TOWN- The Western Cape Standing Committee on Human Settlements has resolved to start a new Public Participation Survey to collect data from the disgruntled District 6 community over ongoing delays faced by land claimants.

More than five months later, 108 families who were expected to move into the Phase 3 project on Hanover Street are still waiting to move into their homes with no time frames provided.

The District Six Working Committee (D6WC) which took the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to court over the slow process for claimants, also recently indicated it would be putting further legal pressure on government to speed up the matter.

The department was ordered to issue quarterly progress reports following a 2019 court judgment obtained against them by the D6WC. The next court-mandated update is due on Friday.

D6WC spokesperson Karen Breytenbach said the delays have become untenable.

’’The many delays we’ve seen with the current third phase of the District Six restitution project over the past year are not only holding up other parties and parts of the greater restitution process, but are causing grave, repeated distress to the already traumatised claimant community.“

“The department offered new excuses for the delays each month, ranging from the pandemic, to the weather, to construction issues, administrative issues. Now they are shifting blame to the City for reasons unknown to the D6WC.

’’Many of our claimants are in their 80s and 90s, and Mrs Shariefa Khan is 100, and have had their suitcases packed for months. They are losing hope in the entire process. The State owes them answers, and greater respect,’’ she said.

The provincial standing committee Human Settlements, received a presentation on Wednesday of the public participation process.

The process will be advertised through newspapers, radio adverts, and further communicated through approaching known District 6 community groups.

Human Settlements Committee chairperson Matlhodi Maseko said: “We have received communication from residents who have approached the Western Cape Government with the hope that the province may be able to shed some light on the time frames of when they can expect the national government to bring them home.

“Despite the Standing Committee having invited the national department multiple times to speak to the people, they have repeatedly declined the opportunity to give an update on the restitution process.”

Maseko explained they were not calling for the department to account to them, but to assist in giving answers to beneficiaries as they did not have any.

Department spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said they would meet Friday’s quarterly deadline.

“Every quarter we have submitted a court report as required by the court order. The court would have charged the minister with contempt of court already, should we not have submitted these reports. We have been in contact with the beneficiaries and we are just waiting for the go-ahead for them to move in.”

Ngcobo said Phase 3 was severely delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of the various lockdown regulations and its impact on productivity and activities on site.

Cape Times

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