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District 6 Working Committee: Courts needed to move land claims process along

On Wednesday, the Western Cape High Court ordered the Rural Development and Land Reform Minister to explain what government has done to deliver restitution to the hundreds of land claimants who've been waiting over twenty years.

A block of social housing currently being built in District Six. The flats are part of the governments restitution agreement with the District Six land claimants. Picture: Bertram Malgas

CAPE TOWN - District Six land claimants are one step closer to being returned to the land they were forcibly removed from.

That's if their court case against national government moves swiftly, starting with the Rural Development and Land Reform Minister appearing before court.

On Wednesday, the Western Cape High Court ordered the minister to explain what government has done to deliver restitution to the hundreds of land claimants who've been waiting over twenty years.

District Six claimants were jubilant outside after Judge Yasmin Meer ordered Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to appear before court on 17 May and to submit an affidavit by 6 May.

In this affidavit, the minister will have to explain what steps she's taken to adhere to a November 2018 court ruling, why she should not be held in contempt of court and why she should not personally be ordered to pay the legal costs.

Yesterday's application, brought by the claimants, was filed in response to papers that the state submitted in February, where officials stated they've not been able to come up with the restitution plan as ordered by Judge Jody Kollapen.

The District Six Working Committee's Shahied Ajam says they needed the courts to move the process along.

"For too long we've gone into agreements with government, and what have those agreements done for us? Nothing but despair. So now we will have the courts ratify each and every agreement so that we can hold them to it once and for all."

WATCH: How long will it take for District Six claimants to get restitution?

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