White man in land claim

2013-12-20 00:00

A UNIQUE land claim in which a white man is claiming back land he was compelled to sell, has landed on the desk of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

The man, “who enjoyed all the advantages of apartheid” is claiming back farms he was forced to sell for 60% of their value to the government of the day to be incorporated into the Ciskei homeland.

The Land Claims Court set the ball rolling by ruling that Ivor Phillips has the right to claim the land near Queens­town and Tarkastad.

The minister of Rural Development and Land Reform and the Eastern Cape regional land claims commissioner have applied to Mogoeng for leave to appeal the ruling.

The Land Claims Court found that although Phillips as a white was not a member of a group discriminated against by the apartheid regime, the Constitution demands equal treatment for all citizens. He was therefore allowed to proceed with his claim.

The minister and commissioner argue that this ruling is completely unacceptable.

Commissioner Zukile Pityi said the whole purpose of the land claims system is to help people who suffered discrimination under apartheid to regain land they lost for racist reasons.

He argues that Phillips was a “member of the privileged white group” at a time when “the majority of black people were removed from their land”.

Recommending that Phillips may submit a land claim undermines the purpose of the statute — reparation to people who were discriminated against.

Giving people like Phillips the advantages of land claims and reform “even though he was on the right side of the line previously” would mean that millions of people who suffered “the full burden of discrimination” now have no advantages over those who enjoyed the advantages of apartheid, he argued.

Mogoeng is considering the application.

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