The former Claremont Bowling Club in Bowwood Road is in the process of being transferred to the Claremont Beneficiary Trust.
Close to 70 families have submitted land claims in over 20 years. The transfer is expected to commence within six weeks.
People’s Post previously reported that the once immaculate bowling green has “turned into an eyesore” (“Homeless move in on former bowling green”, 9 September.)
The club once belonged to the City of Cape Town but, following a Land Claims resolution process, was transferred to the Regional Land Claims Commission (RLCC).
“The RLCC reached a R27m settlement agreement for the land and the transfer thereof to itself in July, following the Land Claims resolution processes, which started in 1998,” Mamkeli said.
A handover event was held in June 2013 as part of the remembrance of the 19 June 1913 Land Act. Neville Hendricks, deputy chairperson of the Trust, says the property was supposed to be transferred directly to the Trust, but was “wrongfully” transferred to the RLCC.
Hendricks, who is also one of the claimants, says the property has been vacant for a number of years, while the City has been the custodian.
“Now that we are in the process of having the property transferred to the Trust we find people questioning us, asking what exactly we will be doing with the property. As far as we are concerned it is no one’s business.
“We know very well what we want to do and are in the planning stages,” he adds.
Hendricks says the transfer has been ongoing for over 20 years and the saddest part is that many of the claimants have died over the years.
“How do we quantify the hurt that was caused during the forced removal? People were moved out of the community to areas where there was no infrastructure, while Claremont has all of that. We enjoyed all of it which includes the churches, mosques and schools,” he says.
Hendricks recalls the day his family was informed they need to find a new home.
He remembers his father as a foremost community activist and the one thing that broke him was “the might of the apartheid government”.
“When they gave him notice stating we have one year to move it was the first time that he said ‘there is nothing I can do about this’. He had to make a plan to get us out of the area before they threw us out onto the street,” he explains.
Hendricks believes people did not get the value for their homes which made it very difficult during the move out of Claremont.
“Many died of pure heartache and with that background we do not want people to stand in our way of moving back,” he adds.
A Trust member, who does not want to be named, says people need to know and understand they are coming back because of a legacy that was left behind and not because of greed.
“It is not about money but about restoring dignity,” he says.
Trust chairperson Mogamad Esau says the claimants were “a close-knitted community”. Esau says that is exactly what they would like to see happen once transfer has been completed.
“We are coming home in a sense,” he says.
“We had a cohesive community back in 1965 and that is what we are aiming for now. People need to be patient and watch the space.”
Patrick Mthembani, project coordinator for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, confirms the property is in the process of being transferred.
A service provider will be appointed to clean the property and cut the grass.
Councillor Siyabulela Mamkela, Mayoral Committee member for Human Settlements, says the City is assisting in the process where possible.