Tribes demand millions due for their land

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Communities belonging to three tribes that were moved from their land in 1985 to make way for a dam at Inanda, north of Durban, are demanding their missing compensation of R5,6million.

The money was paid out more than 14 years ago by the previous apartheid government.

The affected communities are the AmaNgcolosi, AmaMaphephetha and AmaQadi.

At the time, the apartheid government made out a cheque for R5,6million signed by the then national deputy minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, Tobie Meyer, as compensation.

The tribes say, in addition, the existing provincial land affairs department was to pay them another R5,4million to develop land.

The AmaQadi lost 532 hectares, the AmaNgcolosi 980 hectares and the AmaMaphephetha lost 737 hectares.

Brian Gcabashe of the AmaQadi tribe said when they were removed they had to live with relatives as a temporary measure, while those who could not be accommodated were moved to Ntuzuma township, outside KwaMashu.

"In 1986 we moved, leaving our livestock with relatives in the hope that soon land would be made available, but it was not the case.

"As if that was not enough, heavy flooding of the dam washed away homes and the livestock," Gcabashe said.

He said after the floods, the AmaNgcolosi and AmaMaphephetha families were accommodated at nearby schools and were later moved to eMolweni.

They were provided with tin houses of two rooms, irrespective of the size of the family.

"Some families were taken to Intshanga, but faction and political violence broke out, forcing them to run back to their tribal land," said Gcabashe.

He said they have documents showing that the money was paid out on the condition that "a committee will be formed comprising a magistrate, officials from the former KwaZulu government and representatives of all the tribes to monitor how the money was spent".

"We want the department of land affairs to tell us to whom they paid out the money because the committee was never formed.

"They must do that in five days, failing which we will take them to court.

"They must bear in mind that we also want the money with full interest," he said.

Acting provincial chief director Thembeka Ndlovu said that land affairs would pay out R5,4million for the development of land.

"This money is still with us because the tribes did not find new land to develop," said Ndlovu.