The State has accepted responsibility for failing to process most of the land restitution…

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The State has accepted responsibility for failing to process most of the land restitution claims lodged in District Six 20 years ago. Senior Council, Sean Rosenberg, argued on behalf of the state in the High Court in Cape Town, that the District Six matter was a complex and ambitious project which was marred by many challenges. Judge Jody Kollapen reserved judgment on whether the state was in breach of the constitution in terms of Section 25 – which facilitates the provision of restitution. The claimants however received some clarity on the way forward after the court proceedings. Lawyer Nicki van Riet explains: “It was a very good day for the District Six claimants where the state put one position paper and seems to have had an about turn and what ultimately was found is that the state has to render a plan of action within three months which has to be filed and according to that plan we need to get a conceptual layout we need to get budgets. We need to find out who is going to fund the exercise.” District Six residents once enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the historical district before they were forcibly removed under the 1950 Group Areas Act. Many were taken to far flung areas outside the city. Close to 3000 land claims were lodged in the area in 1998. More than half of the claimants opted for financial compensation, while the rest wanted to return home.

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