New homes to 'bring back culture of District Six with the stoep in the front'
It has been a very long wait for hundreds of District Six land claimants and on Saturday they were informed of the government plan to provide redress the families who were forcibly removed from the area decades ago.
The plan is the one Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza submitted in December as ordered by the court.
The government plan includes details for the new layout for the redevelopment, including 954 housing units to be allocated to individual claimants. It also includes costing and funding and timeframes.
Refilwe Moloto speaks to Nicki van't Riet, a director at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa, who took up the claimants' case.
After two years of litigation in order to elicit a plan of action, says Van't Riet.
Because there was essentially a 64-year delay.Nicki van't Riet, Director - Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa
She says they eventually went to the Land Claims Court.
We managed to get an order which declared that the State was in violation of the Constitution and legal rights of 98 claimants.Nicki van't Riet, Director - Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa
The court directed the minister to come up with a reasonable plan for a programme to redress this.
The difference from previous plans, was this court ruling was to provide judicial oversight of the process, she explains.
Now the court is going to be monitoring the process every three months until such time as restitution is finalised.Nicki van't Riet, Director - Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa
She says the delays may be due to the costly nature of the implementation plan. It will cost R1.5 billion.
That cost will be divided between national, provincial and local governments.Nicki van't Riet, Director - Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa
The land has been allocated for these and future claimants.
She says this time around, costing has been more realistic.
They have chosen a duplex, semi-detached dwelling units that will have double-pitched roofs and parking bays.Nicki van't Riet, Director - Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa
It is going to try and bring back the culture of District Six with the stoep in the front which will really bring back that street living that District Six was so famous for.Nicki van't Riet, Director - Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa
She says because space is limited there will also be high-rise blocks built closer to the city, earmarked for future development for social houses and some restitution.
Responses have been extremely positive and well-received.Nicki van't Riet, Director - Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa
She says this case is an extremely important example of the crucial role of the separation of powers, where the judiciary was able to step in to bring the executive to account.
This plan would never have come about if it was not for the courts.Nicki van't Riet, Director - Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa
The plan has begun implementation from January 2020.
Listen to the interview below:
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