/ 21 July 2008

Alex residents turn to ANC for help with property

Unhappy at the way the government has dealt with their right to property, residents of Alexandra in Johannesburg have taken their plight to the African National Congress (ANC).

They delivered documents outlining the history of their claims and their concerns to the ANC’s secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, on Monday, said a spokesperson for the group, Richard Mbalukwana.

In the letter, they point out that the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights had promised Alexandra claimants full financial compensation and gratis transfer of their properties as far back as November 2002.

”An amount of R50 000 per claimant was paid in a manner that inadequately benefited claimants as it was distributed among family members, which rendered it useless to purchase fixed assets,” according to the group, called Alexandra Property Owners’ Rights, which adds that no gratis transfer has take place.

”We remain as landless as we were under apartheid,” the group complains in the letter, signed by its secretary, Busi Dubazana.

She said more than 1 500 Alexandra property owners are affected. ”We do not own the properties that many of us should have inherited and do not have the resources to buy alternative land. These properties have been invaded by non-paying individuals and groups.”

The members of the group are claiming title to what they believe are rightfully their assets.

”The ‘better life’ enjoyed by our predominantly white suburban neighbours would be extended to all those we represent if government were to facilitate legal ownership of our properties as promised by the minister of agriculture in the year 2000 and the land commission two years later,” she said.

Dubazana said the residents have a long history of attempted interaction with various national, provincial and local government individuals and are now communicating with the ANC in the spirit of remarks made after a visit to and interaction with the Kgotsong community.

”You indicated that the resolution of the issue should be political and not legal,” she noted. ”We firmly believe that our unresolved issue can be resolved by the political movement to which we all remain loyal, the African National Congress.”

The group has asked for a meeting with Mantashe and has suggested an inspection in loco. — Sapa