Eastern Cape landowners head to SCA

Landowners who lost a land claims court bid to retain ownership of the Zuurveld are going to the Supreme Court of Appeal. (Reuters)

Landowners who lost a land claims court bid to retain ownership of the Zuurveld are going to the Supreme Court of Appeal. (Reuters)

Landowners who lost a land claims court bid to retain ownership of the Zuurveld, in the Eastern Cape, are going to the Supreme Court of Appeal, according to Sunday’s Rapport.

“We cannot believe that the land claim was approved. There is historical evidence that Xhosas did not live in this area, but that the Khoisan did,” one of the 17 landowners, cattle farmer Esra Schoombee, was quoted as saying. 

Earlier this month the court, sitting in Grahamstown, approved the claim to the 6 000ha area, between the Sundays and Great Fish rivers, by a group of Xhosa claimants. They include relatives of Rural Development Minister Gugile Nkwinti. Some of the current owners are direct descendants of the 1820 British settlers and their families have lived in the area for 200 years, Schoombee said. 

The group’s lawyer, Bertus van der Merwe, said the cut-off date for land claims was 1913. Before this date there was no question of apartheid or people being forced off their land due to racial discrimination. In his ruling, Judge Cassim Sardiwalla said it was clear the claimants had a “deep spiritual connection” with the area and were forced off the land after June 19 1913. – Sapa

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