CAPE TOWN – District Six claimants are threatening to march on the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and demand that newly built student residences on “their land” be handed over to them.
All will come to a head on November 29 when former District Six residents gather on the land on which they once lived and forcibly removed under the infamous Group Areas Act.
Chairperson of the District 6 Working Committee Shahied Ajam said people have been waiting for houses for too long “and it was sad that some were not getting to realise their dream of owning houses”.
“We will involve everyone and we are looking to unite all organisations as we are tired of the skewed restitution process. The land was meant to be transferred in 1995.”
He said CPUT owned more than 50% of District Six land and he said the gripe they have with them is that they have not given anything back as part of land restitution.
“What have they done to heal the wounds of people of District Six? Instead they keep developing students’ residences, then what do students do? They torched the St Mark’s Church and torch other buildings,” Ajam said.
“More than 90% of the students are not from South Africa; do they know the history of District Six? This is why we’re saying why does CPUT need residences in District Six? This is not even their main campus. Do they need to be in District Six?
He said he hoped there would be more transparency in the restitution process.
“When do we heal? This is about humanity and our fundamental right to live instead of pointing fingers at one another why don’t they take hands and get this thing done, for the benefit of the people?”
Ajam said their other option is to expropriate the residences without compensation and ask CPUT to move out of District Six. As part of their demonstration he said they will also march to the Civic Centre and provincial government offices.
Spokesperson for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform Mthobeli Mxotwa said they were working through the claims.
“The restitution process is a national thing and we are working on the nine provinces it is slow because of budgetary constraints. We are doing it on availability of the budget. It will take some time because each financial year there is money given and we use that amount and we cannot use more than that.”
CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said they were not aware of the plans.
PHOTO: Independent Online