Re-development plan for District Six to be presented to court - Thoko Didiza

This will include detailed layout, details of funding, estimated timeframes, and allocation criteria

Minister Didiza submit the detailed plan for the re-development plan of the District Six in Cape Town to court.

17 Dec 2019

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Ms Thoko Didiza has today, 17 December 2019 submitted a detailed plan on the redevelopment of the District Six to the Land Claims court, for those claimants who lodged between 1994 and 1998.

The plan includes, inter alia:

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 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, Minister Didiza was apprised on the matter and she requested the court for an extension, in order for her 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. 

Engagements with interested parties have taken place including the meeting of the Minister with the affected claimants on Saturday, 14 December 2019 and further engagements are envisaged. In addition, quarterly reports are to be submitted to court disclosing progress on the re-development plan.

Specific to re-development, the construction is to be done in phases and Phase 3 is currently underway aimed 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 history of the dispossession and forced removal of the residents of District Six by South Africa’s Apartheid regime is well documented and therefore public knowledge. With the advent of our 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, the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights received 2 760 claims by the cut-off date of December 1998 for restitution as a result of dispossessions of ownership and tenancy rights in District Six in the City of Cape Town, Western Cape. These claims were processed and researched so that restoration and compensation could be offered to the claimants. In 2000, the settlement agreement was signed with the City, the District Six Beneficiary Trust and the Department, setting out the programme for the re-development of District Six. The District Six Beneficiary Trust proceeded with the development of Pilot Phases 1 and 2.

After the completion of the initial pilot phases, the community approached government for further assistance. The then Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mr Gugile Nkwinti committed government to assist in the completion of the outstanding houses. Over a period, engagements proceeded towards the development of a plan.  

Statement issued by Reggie Ngcobo, Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, 18 December 2019