Didiza submits detailed plan for District Six redevelopment

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza has submitted a detailed plan on the redevelopment of District Six to the Land Claims Court.

The submission of the detailed plan comes after the litigation brought by the District Six Working Committee against the 5th administration of government.

In November 2018, the court directed that a plan and programme be submitted to court.

Upon her appointment, Didiza was apprised on the matter and she requested the court for an extension in order to give the process the necessary attention.

“In August 2019, an extension order was granted and in terms of the order, a draft implementation plan should be handed to the applicant by 31 October 2019, and comment on the plan has since been received from the First Applicant (District 6 Working Committee).

“In terms of the court order, the final plan was to be submitted by 15 December, however, upon the courts indulgence extension was granted to 17 December 2019, which will then become a public document,” the department explained. 

The department said engagements with interested parties have taken place, including a meeting between Didiza and the affected claimants held on 14 December 2019. Further engagements are envisaged.

In addition, the department said quarterly reports are to be submitted to court disclosing progress on the redevelopment plan.

The plan includes, among others:

  • Detailed conceptual layout for re-development;
  • Specific details of how the plan is to be funded;
  • Estimated timeframes for implementation; and
  • The methodology to be applied in allocating the residential units to the claimants.

The department said that construction is to be done in phases, with phase 3, which is currently underway, planned 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,” the department said.

The history of the dispossession and forced removal of the residents of District Six by South Africa’s apartheid regime is well documented and public knowledge.

With the advent of democracy, the Restitution of Land Rights Act No. 22 of 1994 was introduced, offering the framework for restoration or restitution to the people of South Africa.

In the case of District Six, a total of 2 670 District Six restitution claims were submitted to government by the closing date of the initial lodgement process at the end of 1998.

Of these claimants, 1 439 opted for financial compensation which saw them receiving R39.7 million in total and 1 126 claimants opted to return to the area.

The first phase of rebuilding was completed in 2004, with 24 homes handed over to elderly residents. A second phase of 115 homes was delivered in 2012.

After the completion of the initial pilot phases, the community approached government for further assistance.

The then Rural Development and Land Reform Minister, Gugile Nkwinti committed government to assist in the completion of the outstanding houses. Over a period, engagements proceeded towards the development of a plan. – SAnews.gov.za