R118m Limpopo shopping complex at centre of legal battle between community and developers

Mahlakung shopping complex in Limpopo, is now the centre of a land dispute.
Mahlakung shopping complex in Limpopo, is now the centre of a land dispute.
Image: PETER RAMOTHWALA

A R118m rand shopping complex in GaSekororo, Limpopo, is at the centre of a legal battle between the community and the developers.

The mall is being built on a farm under a pending land claim. The developer has so far spent R62.3m on the project.

Mahlakung shopping complex was scheduled to open next month but it is now embroiled in a high court challenge by Chief Solly Sekororo of the Banareng Ba Sekororo.

Sekororo and his community approached the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane to seek an interdict against the construction of the shopping complex on his land .

The chief seeks an order interdicting and restraining the Regional Land Claims Commissioner in Limpopo, minister of rural development and land reform and the Maruleng local municipality from dealings with any portion of the farm Metz, on which the complex stands.

Sekororo also wanted the land claims commissioner and the minister of rural development and land reform to finalise his undisputed land claim which included the farm in question.

In court papers, which Sowetan has seen, Sekororo accuses Limpopo businessman Edwin Ratsoma and his wife Welheminah of fraudulently acquiring the piece of land from Banareng Ba Letsoalo and selling it for R250000 in 2011.

“The Ratsomas were aware of the land claim. Despite this they have not given a notice of this sale and I believe that they didn’t disclose the land claim to the purchaser,” Sekororo said.

Ratsoma, in a letter contained in the court papers, said he applied for the site with Maruleng local municipality and received a letter of support for development in 2007.

The current shareholders of the shopping complex are The John McCormick Family Trust and Mamahlola (Letsoalo) Community Trust, according to the court papers.

In his answering affidavit, shopping complex director McCormick, said the motive behind the court challenge was to exert pressure on them to accommodate Chief Sekororo in the development and ownership of the shopping complex.

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