LONG WAIT: Elderly claimants attend District Six Working Committee meeting in Salt River
Justice delayed is justice denied. This maxim sums up quite well the status of the District Six land restitution process at the moment.

Where it’s currently at is that the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has told the court that it would take ANOTHER 20 years to develop the area and build homes for the 3000 claimants.

The development and construction could cost more than R11.6 billion, the department estimated.

So, essentially, what the government is saying is that it doesn’t have money to repatriate the long-suffering former residents of Die Ses to their old home.

They can’t afford to redress the social injustices of apartheid’s Group Areas Act - or maybe it isn’t high enough on their priority expenditure list.

And even if they had the budget to deliver, claimants would only be compensated in 2039 - when they’re dead.

It’s the ultimate injustice, the ultimate insult to these elderly mense - the hundreds of frail oumas and oupas, some of whom lodged their claims as far back as 1998 when politicians first promised to deliver them back to the historic area.

You’ll see them dutifully attending the claimants’ meetings, to hear updates on the restitution process.

While some remain hopeful, others have resigned themselves to the fact that justice will not come - not in their lifetimes, anyway.

Others have died waiting.

The latest court submission will have dealt a hammer blow to the last of the optimistic claimants.


The District Six Working Committee is not taking the setback lying down, though.

Chairman Shahied Ajam says the committee will push for an urgent court date.

“We are ready and willing to take on the District Six development and it will take less than 20 years to complete. Our plan can be completed within three years,” he says.

It’s a cause we as Capetonians should all be part of.

Government has failed the people of District Six badly and they cannot be allowed to get away with this.

It is unacceptable, outrageous and they should be punished harshly at the elections.

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