In the Western Cape, 34 families who were former residents of dispossessed communal land in Paternoster were finally handed the title deed to the Vaalplaas Communal Property Association (CPA) after an uphill battle of more than 20 years.
On Saturday (11 December 2021) the minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza, handed over the title deed for erf 15 and portions 17, 20 and 22 of the farm Uitkomst (No. 23) to the land holding body.
The Vaalplaas community lost their land rights when competition between land and sea resources led to the dispossession of the coloured fishing community of Vaalplaas.
In 1998, the Vaalplaas Community lodged a claim with the regional land claims commission, in terms of the Restitution of Land Rights Act (Act No 22 of 1994), on behalf of 41 families who were the former residents of the dispossessed communal land.
In unpacking the land restitution process to the Vaalplaas community, chief land claims commissioner Nomfundo Ntloko-Gobodo said that restitution is a long process that yields benefits for the now and, more importantly, the future.
An emotional CPA chairperson, Peter Koraaizen, recounted the trauma he suffered when his family home was bulldozed to the ground during their eviction. He promised that, with the assistance of the government, the community will make a success of the land.
The project is expected to benefit about 32 households with approximately 75 beneficiaries.
In a keynote address to the Vaalplaas community, Didiza said that building a new society means one must deal with the injustices of the past. She said government undertakes land reform in a manner that builds communities.
Didiza, told the Vaalplaas community to use their restored land wisely, as an asset. “Land is an important natural resource that does not expire. It defines our identity and gives dignity,” she said.
The handing over of title deeds to the Vaalplaas claimant community culminated in the planting of a tree of remembrance on one of the portions of originally restored land by Didiza, deputy minister Mcebisi Skwatsha and members of the Vaalplaas communal property association.
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