Land claimants still homeless

WHEN the historic Hlomela land claim was settled in 2006, it meant a lot for 15 families at Makhasa village in Malamulele, Limpopo.

The settlement included being awarded houses as compensation for their forceful removal from their ancestral land near Vuwani.

Sadly, their happiness has turned into sorrow as their houses were built and left without roofs since 2006.

The contractor disappeared without an explanation.

"We destroyed our huts to make way for those houses," Sabina Ngomani, a spokesperson for the families, said.

She said at one time the former regional land claims commissioner, Mashile Mokono, sent people to interview them, promising to sort out their problems.

But nothing came of it.

"We have written several letters to the commission and also made several phone calls but we were ignored." Ngomani said the Makhasa situation was just a tip of the iceberg.

"There are families who have moved to areas such as Shigalo, M'tititi, Hasani and Majosi who are in the same situation," she said.

She said at Makhasa, when the project started, the contractor had no tools.

He allegedly hired them in the village but left without paying them.

The contractor allegedly employed temporary workers and left without paying them also.

The villagers, who were all removed from Skuinshoogte farm, which is now Vuwani, in 1968, are ruing the decision to destroy their huts because the houses had not been completed since 2006.

Regional land claims commissioner in Limpopo Thele Maphoto yesterday said his department has approached the Human Settlements department, but it could not assist due to their backlog and commitments.