Pensioner waits 18 years for decision on land claim

2014-02-26 00:00

AN 82-year-old pensioner has been waiting 18 years for a decision on a land claim and says she wants to enjoy the money from it with her family before she dies.

However, the claim took 17 years to even be looked at.

Annamah Naicker from Hayfields applied for compensation for her father M. Padayachee’s farm in New Hanover on April 26, 1996.

The land was seized from her father, who was removed by the notorious Group Areas Act in the 1970s.

“My three sisters and brother died at around the same age as I am now,” said Naicker.

She said in the 18 years since the claim was lodged, her husband and three children and siblings have all died, without enjoying the money the family should have received from the claim.

“I have been to the Rural Development Department offices for years without any joy,” said Naicker.

She said, “At my age, I don’t have any support, so I thought this would be the answer.”

Naicker said they were born on and grew up on the land, which was sold for R11 000.

“I would understand if procedures forced us to wait for eight years, but 18 years is a lifetime,” she said.

Naicker said she doesn’t know what more she needs to do and asked for experts on land claim issues to intervene on her behalf because she is tired of going to the Rural Development offices.

Her grandchildren want her to be paid out urgently so that she can enjoy the money, because she has done all the hard work to submit the claim and also had actually worked on the farm.

Provincial Rural Development spokesperson Nokuthokoza Ndlela said due to the number of land claims that were received during the lodging period of December 31, 1998 until December 2012, there are claims that have still not been being dealt with.

“However, many claims have been settled and finalised,” she said.

Ndlela said claims were prioritised per financial year and depending on the capacity available to work on those land claims.

She said the Naicker’s claim only started being researched during the 2013/2014 financial year. “Several meetings have been held with her to get evidence to substantiate her family land claim,” said Ndlela.

She said the commission has a duty to investigate every land claim lodged in terms of the Restitution Act.

“Lodging a land claim does not automatically qualify the claim as a valid land claim.

“This claim is currently being researched and there are several processes that need to be followed before the claim is accepted as a valid land claim by the regional land claims commissioner,” said Ndlela.

She said the research was still at an initial stage.

Ndlela advised Naicker to be patient and to continue consulting with the office.

“The office is in constant communication with the claimant and the last communication was on Thursday, February 20, 2014,” said Ndlela.

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