Westenburg community seeks answers

POLOKWANE – Residents were accompanied by leaders of the Community Development Forum to discuss the demands contained in a memorandum recently handed over to the Polokwane Municipality following protest action by residents who said they had enough of being left behind when it came to service delivery.

Read more: [WATCH] Live scenes from the Westenburg protest

Among the demands highlighted in the memorandum are the land claims and this is what caused the upset during Sunday’s meeting at the site office in Ext 40.

Residents said they were told by the Steering Committee that there would be a list where residents could add their names in order to be eligible to claim back the land and property they had lost when they were forcefully moved from Ext 40, Disteneng area as the land was kept for businesses.

Read more: ‘Release our leaders before negotiating’ say Westenburg residents

“We were led to believe claims for the reclaiming of land would be open and we would today (Sunday) be able to add our names to the list to reclaim it. This is not the case as stipulated in a letter from Land Affairs (lodgement of claims in terms of the Redistribution of Land Grabs Act 1994) which has now been confirmed today by the Ext 40 Steering Committee who also do not have answers for us with regard to the process of reclaiming the land or the people who are not beneficiaries, who continue to live there.

You might also want to read: [WATCH] Westenburg residents demand their ‘birth right’

“We still await another meeting with the stakeholders who will provide us with the information we need regarding these issues,” Ray Goulkan, Chairperson of the Westenburg Community Development Forum, said.

Mashinde Stuurman, Ext 40 Steering Committee Secretary, urges the community to work with them in the fight to reclaim land in Ext 40.

“We are here to support residents of this community in their quest to reclaim the land. We need the community’s support when we go to the Department of Rural Development to query the process of land reclamation. We understand some of the residents have been hitting a brick wall with regard to acquiring information about the land reclamation process and we reassure them we will keep them updated regarding the issue,” Mashinde Stuurman, Ext 40 Steering Committee Secretary, said.

Matters in Westenburg escalated to violent protest action, arrests and turmoil when residents decided enough is enough and took a stand for better service delivery a couple of weeks ago.

Residents handed the municipality the memorandum when the Mayor, Thembi Nkadimeng, asked to meet with them to discuss the matter.

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  AUTHOR
Thabitha Mahlangu

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