After 18 years our land claim still not settled

THE minister of agriculture and land affairs, at the time, lied to parliament in 2007 in reply to questions on land claims.

To a set of written questions by the DA’s James Selfe, the minister acknowledged that I (on behalf of my immediate family) had lodged a claim on December 31 1998. In fact the claim was lodged on May 29 1995, and was for erven 833, 834 and 888, Salisbury Park.

The minister said then a commission was reviewing the monetary value of 221 properties in Fairview and Salisbury Park. This valuation was to be discussed with the regional land claims commissioner and then with the claimants.

Here comes the lie. In answer to Selfe’s second question, the minister’s reply was, “All the remaining Port Elizabeth claims are prioritised for settlement during this current financial year, that is 2007-2008”.

That financial year has come and gone, but in our case, no settlement yet.

For more than a year I have dealt, in exasperation, with the presidential hotline on this matter, only to be told eventually on March 20 this year that the matter was now back with the regional land claims commissioner. In the meantime, erf 888, comprising 991m², has already been sold by the department to a third party.

If anybody can make sense of a pons assinorum comprising the Land Claims Department in East London, I will gladly hear from them. With such administrative bungling in government departments from the top down, I sincerely hope next year voters will not lengthen that bridge for another five years.

Charlton Andrews, Fairways, Cape Town

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