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City celebrates land restitution with Rondebosch East claimants<p>​Mayoral Committee members, Brett Herron, Siyabulela Mamkeli, Suzette Little; </p><p>Our honoured guests, the Rondebosch East land claimants;</p><p>Members of the media: </p><p>Good morning, goeiedag, molweni, as-salaam mu-ailaykum, shalom.</p><p>It is a true honour for me to be here today to celebrate this historic occasion just two days before we celebrate Human Rights Day. </p><p>These occasions are also bittersweet 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.</p><p>I looked at the history of this land claim and it is truly heart-breaking because it is a story that unfolded in so many lives, breaking up families and integrated neighbourhoods and scattering people all over the Cape Flats.</p><p>People were moved out of their homes from this prime land here in Rondebosch East and dumped on the Cape Flats. </p><p>I quote from Mr Roderick Siljeur’s story when, as teenager in 1961, his family was forced to move from their home here in Rondebosch East and had nowhere to go.</p><p>His parents with their children had to move in with an uncle and the family of six had to share one room. </p><p>Everything in their lives changed, putting the family under immense stress. </p><span><div class="image-gallery-slider img-gal-1" id="img-gal-1" data-slides="3" data-slide="1" style="height:493.5px;"><div class="image-gallery-content" style="height:414px;">​​​​ <figure class="itemSlide slide-left slide-1"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:837px;" /> <figcaption class="image-slide-text" style="display:none;"> <p>  City celebrates land restitution with Rondebosch East claimants</p> </figcaption> </figure> <figure class="itemSlide slide-left slide-2"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:946px;" /> <figcaption class="image-slide-text" style="display:none;"> <p>  City celebrates land restitution with Rondebosch East claimants</p> </figcaption> </figure> <figure class="itemSlide slide-left slide-3"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:946px;" /> <figcaption class="image-slide-text" style="display:none;"> <p>  City celebrates land restitution with Rondebosch East claimants</p> </figcaption> </figure> </div><div class="image-gallery-control"><div class="image-gallery-caption"><p> <a title="title" href="#"> <b>Aerial view of Cape Town</b></a> - Loren ipsum dolor sit amet loren ipsum dolor sit amet Loren ipsum dolor sit amet.</p></div><div class="image-gallery-nav"><div class="nav-info">1 of 3</div><div class="slide-next"> <i class="icon arrow-white-next"></i> </div><div class="slide-prev">             </div></div></div></div>​​</span><p>They had to use an outside toilet, the children could not study properly and they had to move again to another family member’s house where they slept in the lounge. </p><p>The Siljeur family was dealt another blow when they were uprooted and forcibly removed again from Kromboom Estate and moved to Grassy Park in 1973 when the area was declared a white area.</p><p>Here families experienced a great amount of social disruption as a close-knit community was torn apart.</p><p>When I look at the claimant list today, we see the evidence of how people were displaced and put all over the Cape Flats.</p><p>We look at the names of the claimants and it is a reminder of what the good old days looked like in District Six and other areas with integrated communities where people of all races and religions lived together.</p><p>Today there are claimants who now live in Southfield, Bonteheuwel, Gugulethu, Kuils River, Rylands and Grassy Park.</p><p>The Group Areas Act was one of the apartheid government’s greatest weapons used to cause division and create spatial divides, breaking up inclusive communities who lived together with a great sense of community for many years. </p><p>What is even more disappointing is that with the dawn of democracy we called on claimants to come forward and submit claims. </p><p>This group submitted their claim in 2001 and in 2008 the City sold the land to the Department of Land Affairs for restitution purposes. </p><p>In terms of restitution, the City’s role is to give back land for which a claim has been submitted to the department.</p><p>The claimants have been waiting for more than 10 years for the Department of Land Affairs to transfer the land officially to the claimant community so that they can commence their development process and resettle on their land.</p><p>It is in an indictment on all of us that restitution drags on for so many years and people have died while waiting to return to the land they were dispossessed of.<br>I am making an urgent and impassioned plea to the newly appointed Minister of Rural Development and Land Affairs, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, to finalise this matter in the spirit of respecting human rights and redressing the imbalances of the past. </p><p>The City has fulfilled its roll in this process more than 10 years ago and it is my duty to call on the Minister to ensure that Land Affairs finalises this matter.</p><p>In closing, we will hear from another claimant Mr Kenneth Abrahams shortly but it is stories such as his that makes it incumbent on us as leaders in the new democratic dispensation to restore people’s rights and dignity with great urgency. </p><p>Mr Abrahams was a student when his parents received a letter from the then Community Development Department in 1961 indicating that Crawford was declared a white area and they had to move. </p><p>What is most ironic and unfair was that they were moved only two streets away to a part of the area that was allocated for non-whites.</p><p>The City of Cape Town made a commitment to redress and to finalise all land claims as quickly as possible so that we give land back to the rightful owners. </p><p>In the past six years we have handed over land in Constantia, Somerset West, Lotus River, Claremont, Simon’s Town and Bishopscourt. </p><p>I know that the Rondebosch East claimants meet regularly to discuss the development plans for the erf and I understand that the proposal at this stage looks at 40 residential units for claimants, along with a private school and 465 social housing units. </p><p>It is encouraging to hear that the proposal looks at an inclusive plan to cater for a range of needs in the community and to restore the integration that was once a trademark of this area.</p><p>I believe the project will deliver a meaningful legacy for claimants to leave behind for their families.</p><p>On behalf of the City of Cape Town we wish the claimants well with their plans and look forward to the day when they return to their land.</p><p>Thank you, baie dankie, enkosi, shukran and God Bless. </p><p><strong>End </strong><br></p><p> </p>2018-03-18T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891d;GP0|#904f8ac3-ad18-4896-a9a8-86feb1d4a1b7;L0|#0904f8ac3-ad18-4896-a9a8-86feb1d4a1b7|StatementsGP0|#3474d056-9f62-4a08-96a9-9932e10eb9b4;L0|#03474d056-9f62-4a08-96a9-9932e10eb9b4|land restitution;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#f8ee1c4f-4984-489e-b8e6-0cf8db859e7d;L0|#0f8ee1c4f-4984-489e-b8e6-0cf8db859e7d|Rondebosch;GP0|#f5c533e7-4eda-42a8-9124-272b7e077c87;L0|#0f5c533e7-4eda-42a8-9124-272b7e077c87|intergrated communities1


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