Dept urged to speed up District 6 restitution after second claimant passes away

Former resident, Hawa Wilkinson, passed away on Sunday. She was born in the area in the 1950s and was 10-years-old when it was declared a whites-only area. Wilkinson’s death comes shortly after the passing of one of the oldest claimants, 100-year-old Shariefa Khan, last month.

Some of the homes being prepared for the land claimants returning to District Six. Picture: Graig-Lee Smith/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - There are renewed calls for the Land Reform Department to speed up the restitution of District Six claimants after another former resident, Hawa Wilkinson, passed away on Sunday.

She was born in the area in the 1950s and was 10-years-old when it was declared a whites-only area.

As a young girl, Hawa Wilkinson watched the bulldozers enter District Six, as the apartheid government destroyed homes, schools and places of worship.

The dawn of democracy brought hope that land claimants would one day return but for her it’s taken too long.

It was only in death that Wilkinson returned home, as she was laid to rest at the District Six Galielol Raghmaan Jamaa Masjid on Sunday.

The District Six Working Committee’s Karen Breytenbach said that they'd written to the Land Reform Department more than two weeks ago, but they were still in the dark.

“There’s another claimant who desperately needed restitution who died before her dream could be fulfilled. We actually have just written to the department again and they promised a response by 9 February but never did,” Breytenbach said.

Wilkinson’s death comes shortly after the passing of one of the oldest claimants, 100-year-old Shariefa Khan, last month.