Ex-Dis­trict Six res­i­dents ‘must fight to come back’

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - METRO - KAREN PRE­TO­RIUS

FOR­MER res­i­dents of Dis­trict Six have been told not to “ro­man­ti­cise” go­ing back as they will not find the closeknit, safe com­mu­nity their fam­i­lies were evicted from al­most 53 years ago. In­stead, the hand­ful of res­i­dents who have re­set­tled, have found it a haven for drug deal­ers, pros­ti­tutes and home­less peo­ple.

At a meeting of the Dis­trict Six Work­ing Com­mit­tee yes­ter­day, Aisha Salie of the Dis­trict Six Civic As­so­ci­a­tion said those who have re­set­tled were el­derly and needed help to re­build the com­mu­nity. She said a third force was sow­ing dis­cord in the com­mu­nity.

Salie said there was no one to com­plain to. “You must fight to come back. Want ek raak moeg (be­cause I am get­ting tired). Ev­ery day it is a fight,” she told the el­derly crowd in the Black­pool com­mu­nity hall in Salt River.

The com­mit­tee called the meeting to give feed­back to claimants about their vic­tory in the High Court on Mon­day Novem­ber 26. The com­mit­tee took the gov­ern­ment to court over the slow pace of resti­tu­tion for Dis­trict Six land claimants.

Judge Jody Kol­lapen in­structed the Depart­ment of Land Af­fairs and Ru­ral Devel­op­ment to sub­mit a “vi­able and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment plan to the court by Fe­bru­ary 18, 2019”.

Chair­per­son of the com­mit­tee Shahied Ajam said for­mer res­i­dents, who were “dis­il­lu­sioned and dis­gusted” by the process, gave them a man­date in Novem­ber 2013 to take their bat­tle for­ward.

“There is 42 hectares that’s been ly­ing there since 1999 wait­ing for you to re­turn. Gov­ern­ment did not hon­our their obli­ga­tion to you. Now it is in your hands,” Ajam said.

Judge Kol­lapen told the depart­ment that the re­de­vel­op­ment plan should con­tain the lay­out and de­sign of the project, how many units would be built, how it would be funded, in­clud­ing al­lo­cat­ing a bud­get, the ex­act time frames and how the hous­ing units would be al­lo­cated.

“There will be no more phases. Phase 1, 2 and 3 was a flop. They must just fin­ish and klaar,” he said.

But Ajam also warned claimants not to “ro­man­ti­cise too much about what was”. In­stead, he said, they should fo­cus on “what will be”.

The com­mit­tee was rep­re­sented by Nor­ton Rose Ful­bright. At the time of the court vic­tory, the com­mit­tee’s le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ge­off Budlen­der slammed the depart­ment for not giv­ing res­i­dent a clear plan.

Spokesper­son Phuti Ma­bele­bele said the minister of ru­ral devel­op­ment and land re­form, Maite Nkoana Masha­bane had “noted” the rul­ing of the High Court.

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