South Africa: Didiza Meets District Six Community Amid Land Claim Impasse

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza says she has met with District Six community representatives over the past week in a bid to find solutions to unresolved land claim issues.

Didiza briefed media at the Imbizo Centre in Parliament ahead of tabling the department's budget vote in the Old Assembly on Tuesday morning.

"In the past week, we have met with the community of District Six, represented by their respective committees, albeit the fact that there are legal issues between us," she said.

Nearly 60 000 District Six residents were affected when the apartheid regime passed the Group Areas Act on 11 February 1966. The passing of the act meant District Six residents were forcibly removed from their homes as the area was at the time declared a "whites only" section.

In November last year, the Land Claims Court ordered that government should come up with a reasonable plan to satisfy the restitution land claims of the residents after the hundreds of claimants were left in the lurch and awaited the development of District Six after their claims were processed in 1998 - the first window of the land claims.

Didiza said there is a need to find a lasting solution to the legacy of dispossession in the country.

"We would like to thank them for committing to work with us to finding a lasting solution to the current stalemate. The challenges we have highlighted require a responsive State," Didiza said.

Department to look at beef, citrus commodities to bolster growth

Meanwhile, Didiza said that agricultural production, linked to market access, will enable the department to make a contribution to the economy.

"The opening up of markets in other countries for beef and fruits are just but one example of the growth opportunities that we can maximise."

The department will look at upscaling dipping and other veterinary services to deal with disease outbreak that has affected production in the agricultural sector.

"The current challenges of animal disease outbreak in five provinces that have tested positive on African Swine Fever, the outbreak of Anthrax in Lesotho and Foot and Mouth in Limpopo, attest to the need for improved budget allocation in this area of work.

"We will ensure that we recruit veterinary doctors and animal health specialists. We will also work with provinces to ensure that dipping services and other veterinary services are undertaken at scale," Didiza said.

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