Home News Ronaldsvlei land claimants demand title deeds

Ronaldsvlei land claimants demand title deeds

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Members of the Ronaldsvlei CPA marched to the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. Pictures: Soraya Crowie

MEMBERS of the Ronaldsvlei Communal Property Association (CPA) marched to the offices of the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development this week in demand of title deeds.

Ronaldsvlei CPA deputy chairperson Noor Fredericks stated that around 300 families were excluded from land restitution processes after they were displaced from their homes in 1974.

“Many of the land claimants are over the age of 80 years and have been living with their families in Roodepan and Greenpoint. We were in the process of issuing beneficiaries with permits to occupy land but the department stopped us and told us that it is illegal. We have given the department seven days in which to respond to our demands,” said Fredericks.

He said that all beneficiaries had opted for restitution for 120 hectares of land and not compensation.

“Once they are title deed owners, beneficiaries will have the right to set up their structures, fence off their properties and establish businesses in their yards. All we are asking for is land.

“Before Ronaldsvlei residents were forcefully removed from their homes, the area had many businesses, shops and houses. All these structures were demolished and the land has been vacant for several years, where there is a lot of available land that can be distributed among the claimants.”

The CPA called for an investigation into all title deeds that have already been handed out.

“The witch-hunt against the current CPA administration must come to an end and they must be granted full access to administrative documents from the previous CPA to allow a properly guided transition.”

Additional CPA member Willem Frederick added that they were not recognised as the legitimate leaders of the CPA.

“Government only interacts with the former CPA, who only saw it fit to benefit themselves and a few beneficiaries. We are not being treated fairly. Time and again we were suspended and when we asked why, we were not given any answers. The mediation process only benefits the department.”

He stated that they had more members than the previous CPA.

“We received the mandate from our members to extend our term of office for another three years after we were elected in 2019. We do not want to fight or incite any violence. All we are asking for is the land that is due to us.”

The deputy director of communication services for the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Moeketsi Ntsane, said they had received the memorandum of demands from some of the Ronaldsvlei CPA members.

“The memorandum was handed over by the previous chairperson and deputy chairperson of the CPA, whose term of office has come to an end in April 2021 as per the CPA constitution. Based on this, the department issued out a letter indicating to them a month before the end of their term,” said Ntsane.

He was unable to “confirm with certainty” whether all the people who participated in the march were legitimate CPA members.

“We would have to verify them against the CPA membership list. There are not two different CPAs, although the office is aware of conflicts amongst the former members of the previous executive committee and the interim committee.”

Ntsane added that prior to the end of the term, the CPA committee was informed of the process to start facilitating the elective annual general meeting (AGM).

“However, the AGM could not continue due to various disputes raised by other community members on allocation and issuing of title deeds by the committee to people who were not direct descendants of the original dispossessed individuals who qualified in terms of the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 22 of 1994.”

He indicated that the department had appointed an independent mediator to assist with conciliation and mediation services to the CPA.

“The department further appeals to the chairperson of the CPA, Koos Moorcroft, and deputy chairperson, Noor Fredericks, to be part of the mediation process. Both Moorcroft and Fredericks were part of the initial mediation process but decided to withdraw from the process, expressing their unhappiness.”

Ntsane explained that the title deeds were not issued by the department but by the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta).

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