People's Post

D6 claimant’s last wish unfulfilled

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Shariefa Khan, the oldest District Six claimant, died in Elsies River on Wednesday 26 January.
Shariefa Khan, the oldest District Six claimant, died in Elsies River on Wednesday 26 January.
Wardah Wilkinson

The oldest District Six claimant died at the age of 100 on Wednesday morning (26 January), without having the opportunity to return home. 

Shariefa Khan died in her Elsies River home after experiencing breathing difficulty.  

Khan, or “Aunty Riefa” as she was fondly known, is one of the hundreds of claimants who have yet to receive the keys to their homes in District Six. 

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has built 108 housing units in District Six which form part of Phase three of the housing development in Hanover Street.

Karen Breytenbach, District Six Working Committee (D6WC) spokesperson, says in April last year, Khan signed the papers to receive her new apartment. 

“Her family spent some months making the unit more comfortable and disabled-friendly for her. They and other families of very old or disabled claimants were assisted by HeartFM and its listeners, among others. Mrs Khan never received final permission to move in, as the national government is still in the process of fixing safety concerns and defects in the buildings.”

When People’s Post reached out to Khan in June last year, her daughter Sumaya Mukuddem said her mother’s last wish was to return to her beloved hometown.

“Mom asked me, ‘How long do I still have to live?’ We as a family are disappointed too because when we saw her face after breaking the news that she won’t be getting the keys, it was heartbreaking. She is our mother, so we feel for her,” said Mukuddem at the time. 

Breytenbach extended her condolences to the family.

“The D6WC would like to extend its heartfelt condolences to the Khan family and share its utter grief and disappointment with not seeing Mrs Khan’s final wish of restitution being fulfilled. The D6WC championed her cause and fought hard for her final restitution which was fraught with difficulty. We thank Mrs Khan for fighting the good fight until the end and supporting our court case which will bring restitution to many families like hers.” 

Breytenbach said the D6WC remained committed to seeking restitution for Khan’s children who were also elderly. 

Khan was laid to rest on Wednesday according to Muslim burial rites.

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