District Six land claimants are confident that Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will be found in contempt of court for not delivering a development plan for the historic area.
This was according to the District Six Working Committee (D6WC) following Nkoana-Mashabane’s appearance in the Western Cape High Court on Friday, where she had to answer questions about why she had not followed a court order issued in November to have a plan for restitution.
Following Nkoana-Mashabane’s appearance, the D6WC issued a statement that there remained “a way to go” in getting houses, but tangible progress was finally being made in getting restitution for the long-disenfranchised community.
“At the conclusion of Friday’s court proceedings, we were left with no doubt in our minds that the court will indeed find the minister guilty of contempt of court for not delivering the plan as previously ordered, and furthermore, that a declaratory order will accompany the ruling.
‘‘The order calling the minister to personally account is of paramount importance because it promotes state accountability to the public and imposes serious consequences on state officials who abdicate or fail to execute their constitutional mandate,” read the statement.
D6WC said that the order demonstrated that government officials were not above the law and would not be allowed to shy away from their duties or be excluded from adhering to the rules of court by engaging in delay tactics at the expense of the taxpayer.
Acting Judge President of the Land Claims Court, Shehnaz Meer, and Acting Judge Tembeka Ngcukaitobi made the order after Nkoana-Mashabane and the department’s legal counsel, brought an application for a postponement of the case in which they were earlier ordered to explain progress.
During Friday’s proceedings, Nkoana-Mashabane conceded that government did not have a concrete plan for the redevelopment of District Six.
Instead, Nkoana-Mashabane asked the court to grant another “three months-plus” to present a holistic plan for redevelopment of District Six.
Judge Ngcukaitobi reminded Nkoana-Mashabane, that between 1998 and 2000, only 139 units had been built in District Six.
The department in their affidavit, stated that while the redevelopment of District Six would cost about R11billion and restitution around R2.4bn, the department could only afford to spend R351million a year.
In her affidavit, Nkoana-Mashabane said that the R1.5m price tag per family unit was “unaffordable and unsustainable”.
Approached for comment, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform spokesperson Phuti Mabelebele said Nkoana-Mashabane would respond in a statement.