Land claimants threaten violence

2010-12-20 00:00

TENSIONS among Bishopstowe/Ekukhanyeni land claimants are threatening to boil over after lengthy delays. Changes to their claim settlement have allegedly divided the community and its leadership.

The community has already marched against the delays, which have dragged on for the past 12 years.

They are now threatening violence against their leadership and the Bishopstowe land claimants’ committee.

The community had filed a land claim which covers the area between the Bishopstowe and the Glenwood 2 area. Their original claim was for a return of their land, but extensive developments made such a solution impossible.

The community understood that they were to receive a cash settlement for the land that could not be returned and they would also get farms along the Umkhambathini area, which they had claimed as part of the land settlement.

A letter by “concerned claimants” now accuses the committee of giving the community “shoddy representation that borders on criminality”, and they are calling on the National Land Claims Commissioner Sibusiso Gamede to intervene before the situation gets worse.

Said a member who did not want to be named, “The problems started when we discovered that a number of new names were appearing on the list of claimants, but they were not part of the original list. People who were part of the original were suddenly replaced or appeared with wrong families.”

Sthembiso Zimu, a member of the Bishopstowe land claimants’ committee, denied there is a conflict and said there is no crisis at this stage.

“So far the claim is proceeding … and according to the committee, it will be settled soon.”

He said any statement to the contrary is the work of a third force intent on destabilising the claim. Attempts to get comment from the land claims commission were unsuccessful.

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