Chief’s multibillion-rand land claim

Property owned by state, parastatals, schools, shopping centres and farms affected

A MAMELODI man could become one of South Africa’s multibillion rand property moguls if a land claim he has instituted in Pretoria is successful.

The claim on the 25 000ha of land – stretching from Cullinan to eastern Moot and from Kameeldrift to The Willows – was gazetted earlier this month and has resulted in several property sales in the area being cancelled.

Victor Lekhuleni’s claim includes diplomatic properties, farms, businesses, schools, churches, residential areas, townships, squatter camps, hospitals, industrial zones and portions of the Magaliesberg mountain range.

The Land Claims Court ruled that the claim be considered.

A six-month validation process is now under way.

Lekhuleni asserts that the land belongs to his tribe, the Mhwaduba of the Bakgatla ba Lekhuleni, of which he is chief.

If successful, tens of thousand of people will be affected.

Lekhuleni, a traditional leader, claims his tribe occupied the land since the 1800s but was forcibly removed from their homes between 1958 and 1962.

Lekhuleni’s lawyer, Vivien de Klerk, said: “Like any tribal community they would like their land back, but they accept that it is not possible in terms of developed areas. Where land cannot be returned they will seek compensation.”

The claim includes some of Pretoria’s most affluent areas such as La Montagne, Wapadrand and Silver Lakes, as well as 400 smallholdings, industrial areas, Mamelodi township and numerous informal settlements.

The land targeted includes properties owned by the government, Transnet, City of Tshwane, Sanral, Eskom, the Post Office and Telkom.