Oldest District Six land claimant still hopeful of return despite latest delay

Shariefa Khan (100) is one of 108 people who were due to move into their new homes this month. However, construction hit a snag, which the Land Affairs Department has attributed to the inclement weather in Cape Town.

The oldest living District Six land claimant Shariefa Khan turned 100 years old on Sunday, 25 April 2021. Picture: Lizell Persens/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - Despite yet another delay, the oldest District Six land claimant remains hopeful that she will soon return to her roots.

Shariefa Khan is one of 108 people who were due to move into their new homes this month. However, construction hit a snag, which the Land Affairs Department has attributed to the inclement weather in Cape Town.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Western Cape has slammed the department, saying that this was a poor excuse as there had been at least three delays in the handover of homes since April.

Khan was one of many who were forcibly removed from District Six in 1966, when it was declared a "whites only" area during apartheid.

Last month, land claimants were told that the process of returning them to District Six would take place between 24 June and 16 July, however, construction was still under way and the Land Affairs Department said that this was due to the inclement weather.

The DA's Matlhodi Maseko said that this was yet another excuse.

"It's been over 30 years since the original residents of District Six should have returned home. The residents deserve answers far better than 'the sun was not out.'"

Khan's family said that the ongoing delays were a source of distress for the centenarian, who pined for "home".

Her daughter, Nadiema: "She is waiting desperately to go back, she can't actually wait but she's got patience. She does go quiet but we, as a family, we're all waiting."

Khan turned 100-years-old in April and her birthday wish was to return to District Six before she died.

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