Land claimants return home

It was all smiles on Monday March 19, when about 40 land claimants returned to Rondebosch East.

About 40 Rondebosch East claimants were thrilled to have returned to the place they once called home.

On Monday March 19, the families gathered at Rondebosch East Primary School, to celebrate the milestone in the journey of the claimants, who submitted their land claim in 2001, after having been forcibly removed from the homes by the apartheid government in the 1960s.

Mayor Patricia de Lille, said: “It is a true honour for me to be here to celebrate this historic occasion just two days before we celebrate Human Rights Day. These occasions are also bitter sweet because we are here to celebrate a big step in this journey but it also reminds us of our very sad past and the cruel manner in which people’s rights were trampled on.”

Claimants currently live in Southfield, Bonteheuwel, Gugulethu, Kuils River, Rylands and Grassy Park, after people were moved out of their homes from this prime land in Rondebosch East and dumped on the Cape Flats.

The apartheid government’s Group Areas Act was used to cause division and create spatial divides, breaking up inclusive communities who lived together with a great sense of community for many years.

“The City has committed itself to redress and reconciliation and ensuring that the rights of people who were dispossessed of land are restored through a process of land restitution,” Ms De Lille said.

This group of residents submitted their claim in 2001, and in 2008 the City sold the land to the Department of Land Affairs for restitution purposes.

In terms of restitution, the City’s role is to give back land for which a claim has been submitted to the department.

The Mayor hosted the claimants in a ceremonial handing over of the land to mark the conclusion of the City’s role in the process.