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LAND CLAIMS - NEWS & UPDATES

Ratepayers are urged not to be lulled into complacency.

Please deposit R200 per title into:

Southbroom Ratepayers Land Claims

Standard Bank Margate 057528

Account 053273176

Payments should be clearly identified by:

Lot number + Township + Ratepayer, for example:

258 Trafalgar J Bloggs

Has your payment been received? 

Check the MEMBER GROUP.

Any balance remaining at the end of the validation process will be split between the various township's Ratepayers Associations and be applied to projects of general community benefit.


March 2014

LAND CLAIMS UPDATE

Howard Kelly

Chairman : Lower South Coast Claims Group

 

South Claim (Impenjati Community)

 

A short update on the South Claim. By order of the Land Claims Court, the Land Claims Commission was directed to appoint legal representation for the Impenjati Community by the 14th August and the Impenjati community had to furnish an answering affidavit by the close of business on 31st August (tomorrow). This is as a result of the community’s claim that, notwithstanding the fact that the claimants have been paid R 34 Million, they feel they must still get land.

 

I can confirm a Pietmaritzburg Legal firm was appointed to represent the community and that their chairman, Mr Mtuli, was served with notification of this order but that as of the close of business today no affidavit has been forthcoming. Should nothing be submitted by the close of business tomorrow, we will apply to have the matter set down and our original consent order granted i.e. that the R 34 million paid out to the community was in full and final settlement of the claim and that the claim should be de-gazetted within 60 days.

 

We have also in the mean time obtained copies of 628 individually signed agreements (claimants have signed in acceptance of R 54 000 per family) in full and final settlement of the claim as per the details of the Section 42D Memorandum presented to us which specifically lists all the gazetted properties. Given this fact, our legal team cannot see how it would be possible to contest the full and final settlement agreement and, as per the conditions in this agreement, should a dispute arise between claimants and the state it should go to arbitration and is not our fight.

 

Since my last update in late 2012 I can confirm that this mater proceeded to court in September 2013 and an order to degazette the entire list of properties (both rural and urban) was made by the Land Claims court together with a full cost order in our favour i.e. the judge found that there was a valid section 42D agreement and the claim had been settled in total. This degazetting was supposed to have happened by the end of November 2014. Unfortunately the judge also ordered that the outstanding dispute regarding claimant members who had not been paid together with an investigation into whether claimant’s payments compensation covered both rural and urban land was referred to arbitration in September 2014!

 

At a considerable expense we had to be engaged and represented by our advocate for the arbitration as the claimant’s legal team raised new issues i.e. a claim for compensation on state land and rural land and raised the issue that some members of the community had not been included in the original list of 628 families (notwithstanding the fact that there were only 69 families at the original ‘homestead verification exercise in 2005!). The upshot of this is that the claimants have now brought a new application and the degazetting has been suspended by the Commission until this has been resolved. Eric Peckham and I together with our legal team met with the State advocate and the claimant’s legal team on the 5th February 2015 to try and find a solution and we now await word from the claimants as to what they want to do. The state is adamant that the claim is settled and that should there be claimants who have not been included in the list of community members as settled by the commission with the Section 42D agreement then they are advised to lodge a new claim. Two major issues coming from this meeting are the fact that as the legal teams representing the claimants are financed by the state there is no incentive on their part to expedite the process and it is in their interests to take as long as possible with the process. Likewise in the words of the State Attorney the reopening of land claim lodgement is a “nightmare” and is having dire consequences on both the human and financial resources of the state. In conclusion I have no doubt that the total claim will be degazetted at some stage but when I cannot say! Welcome to Africa!

 

North Claim (Masakane Community)

 

We have been successful in obtaining a consent order. What this effectively means is that within 60 court days from the 27th August (i.e. by the 22nd November) the Regional Land Claims Commission (RLCC) is required to serve court papers on all parties (i.e. landowners and claimants) stating why it is a claim. We have been waiting for this for 9 years!

At this junction the parties have 30 days to submit answering affidavits which is then followed by an additional 30 days for the RLCC to answer these affidavits. At this point a judge will be appointed and pre-trail meetings will commence (Feb- March 2013).

 

We have also been awarded a cost order which will now be taxed by the supreme court. The amount of this cost order is approximately R 133 000 which we hope to receive by the end of January 2013.

 

More than this I am unable to report but will keep members abreast of any new issues. As we have come to learn over the last nine years nothing is assured, straight forward or simple but I have been encouraged by the efficiency of the Land Claims Court and feel we are moving in the correct direction now.

 

As per the time lines referred to above we submitted our answering affidavits by the end of November 2012 and since then the case has come to a grinding holt for the following reasons:

·         The claimants have now broken up into various factions and certain leaders of the community who lodged the initial claim have been arrested and charged with fraud by the hawks and we believe some are serving time in Westville prison

·         The state is now not certain who the representatives are of the claim

·         The legal team appointed by the state have withdrawn their legal representation as a result of the community infighting and hence the claimants find themselves unrepresented at the moment and as a result we as the landowner representatives have no ability to expedite the process

The state attorney reports that she will appoint new legal representatives but we simply wait and see. As a committee we have taken the decision to “let them do the running” as chasing the process has simply frustrated us and cost an inordinate amount of legal fees. To date both claims have cost us over R1.5 million and hence we have decided to adopt a more prudent approach. On that note I would like to thank the Southbroom Rate Payers Association for the R 25 000.00 contribution towards the end of R 2014. I will keep you posted!

 

Thanks again for all your support.

 


December 2012

 

LAND CLAIMS UPDATE

Howard Kelly

Chairman : Lower South Coast Claims Group

 

South Claim (Impenjati Community)

 

A short update on the South Claim. By order of the Land Claims Court, the Land Claims Commission was directed to appoint legal representation for the Impenjati Community by the 14th August and the Impenjati community had to furnish an answering affidavit by the close of business on 31st August (tomorrow). This is as a result of the community’s claim that, notwithstanding the fact that the claimants have been paid R 34 Million, they feel they must still get land.

 

I can confirm a Pietmaritzburg Legal firm was appointed to represent the community and that their chairman, Mr Mtuli, was served with notification of this order but that as of the close of business today no affidavit has been forthcoming. Should nothing be submitted by the close of business tomorrow, we will apply to have the matter set down and our original consent order granted i.e. that the R 34 million paid out to the community was in full and final settlement of the claim and that the claim should be de-gazetted within 60 days.

 

We have also in the mean time obtained copies of 628 individually signed agreements (claimants have signed in acceptance of R 54 000 per family) in full and final settlement of the claim as per the details of the Section 42D Memorandum presented to us which specifically lists all the gazetted properties. Given this fact, our legal team cannot see how it would be possible to contest the full and final settlement agreement and, as per the conditions in this agreement, should a dispute arise between claimants and the state it should go to arbitration and is not our fight.

 

North Claim (Masakane Community)

 

We have been successful in obtaining a consent order. What this effectively means is that within 60 court days from the 27th August (i.e. by the 22nd November) the Regional Land Claims Commission (RLCC) is required to serve court papers on all parties (i.e. landowners and claimants) stating why it is a claim. We have been waiting for this for 9 years!

At this junction the parties have 30 days to submit answering affidavits which is then followed by an additional 30 days for the RLCC to answer these affidavits. At this point a judge will be appointed and pre-trail meetings will commence (Feb- March 2013).

 

We have also been awarded a cost order which will now be taxed by the supreme court. The amount of this cost order is approximately R 133 000 which we hope to receive by the end of January 2013.

 

More than this I am unable to report but will keep members abreast of any new issues. As we have come to learn over the last nine years nothing is assured, straight forward or simple but I have been encouraged by the efficiency of the Land Claims Court and feel we are moving in the correct direction now.

 

Thanks again for all your support.


September 2012

LAND CLAIMS UPDATE

Howard Kelly

Chairman : Lower South Coast Claims Group

 

South Claim (Impenjati Community)

 

A short update on the South Claim. By order of the Land Claims Court, the Land Claims Commission was directed to appoint legal representation for the Impenjati Community by the 14th August and the Impenjati community had to furnish an answering affidavit by the close of business on 31st August (tomorrow). This is as a result of the community’s claim that, notwithstanding the fact that the claimants have been paid R 34 Million, they feel they must still get land.

 

I can confirm a Pietmaritzburg Legal firm was appointed to represent the community and that their chairman, Mr Mtuli, was served with notification of this order but that as of the close of business today no affidavit has been forthcoming. Should nothing be submitted by the close of business tomorrow, we will apply to have the matter set down and our original consent order granted i.e. that the R 34 million paid out to the community was in full and final settlement of the claim and that the claim should be de-gazetted within 60 days.

 

We have also in the mean time obtained copies of 628 individually signed agreements (claimants have signed in acceptance of R 54 000 per family) in full and final settlement of the claim as per the details of the Section 42D Memorandum presented to us which specifically lists all the gazetted properties. Given this fact, our legal team cannot see how it would be possible to contest the full and final settlement agreement and, as per the conditions in this agreement, should a dispute arise between claimants and the state it should go to arbitration and is not our fight.

 

North Claim (Masakane Community)

 

We have been successful in obtaining a consent order. What this effectively means is that within 60 court days from the 27th August (i.e. by the 22nd November) the Regional Land Claims Commission (RLCC) is required to serve court papers on all parties (i.e. landowners and claimants) stating why it is a claim. We have been waiting for this for 9 years!

At this junction the parties have 30 days to submit answering affidavits which is then followed by an additional 30 days for the RLCC to answer these affidavits. At this point a judge will be appointed and pre-trail meetings will commence (Feb- March 2013).

 

We have also been awarded a cost order which will now be taxed by the supreme court. The amount of this cost order is approximately R 133 000 which we hope to receive by the end of January 2013.

 

More than this I am unable to report but will keep members abreast of any new issues. As we have come to learn over the last nine years nothing is assured, straight forward or simple but I have been encouraged by the efficiency of the Land Claims Court and feel we are moving in the correct direction now.

 

Thanks again for all your support.


1 May 2007

The waiting continues although we have been informed that the Land Claims Court will deal with the North and South claims separately.


1 January 2007

We are waiting on the Regional Land Claims Commissioner for a court date, and whilst the battle will be costly, senior legal opinion who is very much in the know, believes that the number of claimants and the area claimed will be substantially reduced by the courts.


15 July 2006

Close on R500,000 has been spent in historic research and legal fees and we have still not had our day in court! 

"Without prejudice" negotiations have been held with the claimants but Land Claims Commission representatives seem intent on scuttling the process.  The most likely scenario is that the matter will have to be settled in court.

The Lower South Coast Claims Group currently has a shortfall of around R60,000 and will most likely require a further R400,000 to see the matter through.   Farmers have been asked to contribute R200 per hectare.

Please assist in covering the shortfall to date and future expenses.  Deposit R200 into Southbroom Ratepayers Land Claims, Standard Bank Margate 7528, Account number 053273176.


19 February 2006

The LSCCG is now dealing with the newly appointed Acting Regional Lands Claim Commissioner.  Once progress is made a full report will be posted.


30 October 2005

Four months have passed since our last posting.  This is not due to lack of effort but rather due to the nature of the "progress" made changing so often that a reliable public report has not been possible. Two steps forward, three steps back, questions, questions, questions!  Here goes:

The Lower South Coast Claims Group (LSCCG) has facilitated a group of willing sellers to make two contiguous block of  farmland (one in the North and one in the South) available to the Regional Land Claims Commission (RLCC). Furthermore, an ongoing management solution is being structured for a period of 10 years.

 

Following in-depth meetings and investigations with individual claimants, the RLCC and the LSCCG agreed to adopt this mutually acceptable solution in order to:

  • Avoid a protracted legal battle on technicalities;

  • Save both community and country considerable legal cost;

  • Ensure that rightful claimants are compensated;

  • Ensure that willing sellers are able to market their properties;

  • Ensure that the various communities can continue to live and farm in harmony;

  • Ensure that productivity is sustained.

 

However, despite this constructive solution having been welcomed by all parties and lawyers having been instructed to prepare Heads of Agreement, the LSCCG is concerned:  It has been confirmed that the Regional Commissioner, Thabi Shange, has resigned and the LSCCG has been unable to make contact with any RLCC officials for some time.

 

The KZN Violence Monitor recently posted a public report on their website   ( http://www.violencemonitor.com/reports/sr-more_questions.htm  ) as four years of attempts by the Monitor to obtain responses to questions about the performance of the Commission in KZN have been stonewalled. 

 

For ease of reference, click to access a copy of the Monitor's article: "More Questions Than Answers".


6 July 2005

Several meetings have been held with the RLCC in an effort to come to grips with the shape of the claims and the validity of the claimants. 

Agreement was finally reached on a "re-verification" process: The RLCC would call each member of the two claimant communities to present themselves and answer the questions of where, how, and why they believed they had a claim and what they sought in restitution; Members of the LSCCG would be invited to attend and witness these meetings; and that the RLCC would provide the LSCCG with a full verification report by 5 August 2005. 

Failing this action, the LSCCG would apply for a court date for the matter to be heard.

Per the agreement reached, the meetings are to start with the town areas this weekend (9 & 10 July) and continue for the next four week-ends.


11 May 2005

Please attend the update meeting at 15h00 in the Munster Sports Club tomorrow, Thursday 12 May. 


15 April 2005

The Regional Land Claims Commissioner finally furnished the original record and the court hearing to have her do so was cancelled.  The LSCCG has lodged a claim for costs.

On the South claim, no more was furnished that the copies already given to the LSCCG. On the North claim (the one that affects Southbroom) an additional 3 documents were lodged and, it would seem, they make the LSCCG case (our case)  stronger and the LSCCG is pressing on to have the matter heard in court. Good news is that the Marina Beach, San Lameer and Trafalgar areas may well be off the hook in their entirety.

The LSCCG committee has also had an opportunity to research the validity of the names on the list of claimants received and supplementary affidavits are currently being prepared.

In view of the impending court case, the LSCCG has decided not to participate in the proposed Joint Verification of Claimants.


10 March 2005

The Commissioner has agreed to the setting up of sub-committees, from each side, in order to verify each claimants claim. Target date for completion is end March.  Unrealistic?


2 March 2005

The meeting with the State Attorney was apparently very fruitful.  To cut a long story short, the Regional Land Claims Commissioner now has until the 18th of April 2004 to produce the original record and to furnish copies of the documents that she has continually failed to provide the LSCCG.


18 February 2005

Well, well, well!  The State Attorney has scheduled a meeting of the legal representatives of both the claimants and the affected titleholders.  Monday 28th is the day.  She has also said that it is best that the matter now be heard in court and a tentative date has been set some fortnight later.

Rumour has it that the Land Claims Commissioner would have the north and south claims heard by two different judges?? It doesn't make economic sense as the court time and cost of legal representation will double.  LSCCG Counsel has made representation to have the matters heard together.

The Regional Land Claims Commissioner had until close of business today to furnish all the "missing" papers that the LSCCG have been repeatedly requesting.  Previous deadlines have not been met.


4 December 2004

THE NEVER-ENDING STORY – LOWER SOUTH COAST LAND CLAIMS

November 2003 – Claims gazetted over land between the Imbezane and Tongazi Rivers, Tribal Trust to the sea.

November 2004 – Founding Affidavits filed by affected parties and Record lodged by RLCC and claimants.

A year has flown by and it would seem that, despite the tireless efforts and countless hours expended by the committee of the Lower South Coast Claims Group in the interests of a speedy resolution, very little progress has been made in resolving the issue of the land claims.  

Frustration is the name of the game.

Meeting upon meeting with the Hibiscus Coast Municipality, the Regional Land Claims Commission, Attorneys, Senior Counsel, Historians and, more recently, with the Tribal Chief and his delegation and a few of the actual claimants. 

They say the claims are valid.  We believe their validity will not stand the test.  We all wait a court date.

In the interim, the RLCC has said that the villages should continue “with their business as usual” as the Commission has “no intention to compromise local and foreign-driven development that is currently unfolding in these town and residential areas”.  Yet, the “decision to release the residential/township properties from the Impenjati and Masakane community land claims” has not been cast in stone and the value of the village land remains in the equation, as does the future of the municipal land within these areas.

Special thanks go to those ratepayers who have contributed their R200 towards the costs of validation.  R180,000 (an amount equal to that of the farming community) has been collected.  Costs to date stand at R162,500 and rising as the matter heads into court.  Ratepayers still wishing to contribute can direct deposit into Southbroom Ratepayers Land Claims Account, Standard Bank Margate, Account 053273176. 

Special mention must be made of the committee of the LSCCG and, in particular, of “farmers” Howard Kelly, Eric Peckham and Matt Skellern who carry a huge burden of responsibility and never fail to impress; and of ratepayers Adrian Couzyn and Wally Robinson for the invaluable legal expertise that they willingly provide to  the group.  Our community is fortunate to have men of their stature, ability and tenacity of purpose at its service.


3 September 2004

Thabi Shange, the Regional Land Claims Commissioner, addressed a meeting of affected landowners in the Municipal Chambers today.  Various Associations were represented as well as new farmers (particularly those around the Port Edward area) who have now been told that claims on their farms are soon to be Gazetted.  The Municipal Speaker, Ravi Pillay, chaired the meeting as the HCM has now taken on the role of Facilitator.

Ms Shange outlined the Land Claim process and led one to believe that all will be rational and equitable.  Sadly, this is not what is being experienced on the ground.  She confirmed that her department is currently busy with the verification of our claimants (it seems they might be having some trouble finding them?) and stated that it was the LSCCG's constitutional right to have the claims tested in the Land Claims Court.

Our Founding and Supporting affidavits have been lodged in Pietermaritzburg and it is expected that the Courts will hear the matter in October.

In the interim, our Historians are well under way with their research. No damning evidence has been unearthed to date. 


4 August 2004

Founding and supporting affidavits dealing with the insufficiencies of the claims and the inefficiencies of the process are now virtually complete and should be served on the RLCC, claimant communities, and community representatives, during the course of next week.  It is anticipated that the matter will be heard in court towards the end of September 2004.

Should the motion fail, the process will move to mediation with a mediator being appointed by the RLCC.  Should mediation fail, the matter will again go before the courts.

In the interim, historian Robert King (M.A. History) is researching the areas under claim against the scenarios painted in the claim forms and case reports received from the RLCC.  Should the need arise, Robert will give testimony as an expert witness.

Your Ratepayer Associations have yet to be given the opportunity to make representations to the RLCC.  Despite having registered our objection to the claims within the 60 day period prescribed by law, the RLCC has chosen neither to respond nor to afford us the requested meeting.

The Lower South Coast Claims Group continues to be active in trying to engage with claimants, Council, and Government Officials in an effort to speed up the process and resolve the issue.  Sadly, no further evidence has been forthcoming from the RLCC and time does not seem to be of the essence.  In the meantime, the RLCC has advised that the valuation of farmland is about to commence. 


26 June 2004

The LSCCG has adopted a three-pronged approach:

  • The brief to Senior Counsel has been finalised and the validity of the claims will be tested in court;

  • A professional historian has been briefed to search for any substantive evidence supporting the claims;

  • The LSCCG Executive will continue with its endeavours to meet with the actual claimants with a view to hearing and validating their substantive evidence. 

Word from legal teams involved in validating other claims throughout the country is that we can expect attempts to be made to split our group.  This is apparently done by RLCC appointed valuators bandying inflated purchase prices around the farming community. 

Affected title holders, both rural and urban, are urged to stand together.  We cannot afford "divide and rule".  We have come a long way and have an excellent chance of defeating these opportunistic claims.

We thank the rural community for honouring their pledges and urge ratepayers who have not contributed their R200, to please do so as a matter of urgency.


16 June 2004

The expected reply has been received from the Commissioner.  In her opinion, the claims are valid no matter what.  In fact, she invites us to take whatever legal action we wish as she sees no reason to either withdraw the gazetted notices or to refer the matter to court.  This leaves affected titleholders with no alternative but to take the next step in the legal process and to have the claims, and the process followed to date, tested in court.  The LSCCG executive will be meeting with Senior Counsel to progress the matter as soon as possible.

The meeting arranged by the HCM was held on the 9th as scheduled.  Invitations were extended to representatives of the LSCCG, Ratepayer Associations and the Agricultural Union. The Commissioner, Thabi Shange, chose not to attend and sent certain representatives in her stead.  The meeting was given an outline of "Land Claims 101" and any detail regarding the gazetted claims was avoided.  A short question and answer session, on the broader land claims process, brought the meeting to a close.  The answers given by the Commissioner's representatives seemed well rehearsed and aimed at allaying ratepayer fears.

Ratepayers are urged not to become complacent.  Rather than accept media and other statements, consider the facts and defend your rights:

  • Affected title holders have not been given the opportunity to present evidence and the answers given to questions posed in this regard were evasive and non-committal;  

  • Whilst townsfolk were told that they can continue to improve and trade their properties without the required permission, the Commissioner has yet to take the necessary legal steps to formalise this dispensation;

  • The statement made that alternative municipal land would be given to claimants, not for "informal settlement", but for low cost housing in line with the municipal integrated development plan, can only be viewed as cold comfort;

  • The statement made that "anyone" who could show the Commissioner that they were part of the claimant communities, could lay claim to land in compensation ... even if they only show up in 20 years time;

  • Our farming community is under threat (and so may the townsfolk be in the fullness of time) to pay for "the sins of the past" whether or not these sins were actually committed in our area;

  • Regarding the rights of community claimants, ratepayers need to know what is currently happening in Burgershall:  A negotiated settlement, that everyone was happy to live with, was reached with the claimant community.  Shortly after the land transfers had been affected, a "new" group of claimants emerged demanding land.  The Commissioner is now in the process of "taking" more land to compensate these people.  And who, and what, next?

  • Title holders in Southbroom, Marina Beach, San Lameer, Trafalgar, Palm Beach and Munster/Glenmore have a right to be treated fairly and to future security of tenure.

Please support the legal initiative - deposit your R200 today and encourage your friends to do likewise.  Its a small price to pay when the value of your property and lifestyle is at stake.  We need to trust our Government and the legal processes that it affords all of its people and to do this we have no option but to go to court.     


3 June 2004

The next update will be after the return date of 18 June 2004 as contained in the legal documents which the LSCCG served on the Land Claims Commissioner.  (Refer update of 18 May 2004). 


25 May 2004

Urban property owners (town and residential areas) no longer need to notify or obtain the permission of the RLCC for the sale or improvement of their property.

In a letter dated 24 May 2004 addressed by the Commission to a firm of local architects, Regional Commissioner Thabi Shange writes:

"Be advised that the KwaZulu-Natal Land Claims Commission has noted recent media reports on the pending land claims in the prime Lower South Coast area and therefore wishes to note the following:

The Land Claims Commission is satisfied that land claims that are against properties such as Marina Beach, Trafalgar Estate, Southbroom and San Lameer are valid in terms of the Restitution Act.  However the Commission has no intention to compromise local and foreign-driven development that is currently unfolding in these town and residential areas.  In fact the affected properties are so highly developed such that the restoration of land claimants is no longer feasible.

The Land Claims Commission has therefore taken a decision to release the residential/township properties from the Impenjathi and Masakhane community land claims.  The Commission wishes to advise the landowners of the above properties to continue with their business as usual.  This includes land transactions.

This decision has been taken after careful consideration of the needs of the Land Restitution claimants as well as property owners in the above-mentioned townships."

Comment:  It would seem that the Notices in respect of the residential/township land are not being withdrawn and that the restitution value of these areas may result in an increased acquisition of local farmland.  The need to actively pursue the withdrawal of the Notices remains in order to limit the perceived effect of change of ownership/use of neighbouring commercial farmland.


21 May 2004

Whilst the Commission does not see restoration of residential areas to land claimants as feasible, it is concerning to note that the fate of lower south coast commercial farmlands is still in the balance.  The Commission says that land claimants have indicated their intention of undertaking farming activities and that no decision about farmlands has yet been reached.

The Hibiscus Coast Municipal Executive Committee has agreed that the Municipal Manager write to the Commissioner requesting blanket approval for developments to continue on the gazetted land claim areas within the developed/township areas.

Regional Land Claims Commissioner, Thabi Shange, will make a presentation to Hibiscus Coast Councillors on 9 June in the Council Chambers.  Members of the public are permitted to attend the meeting as observers. 

19 May 2004

Papers drawn by Senior Counsel Mike Southwood have been served personally on the RLCC.  They give cause and request the RLCC to act in terms of the Act and withdraw the Government Notices in their totality. They ask the RLCC to give this decision by 18 June 2004.  They advise that:

  • should no decision be given by that date, we will seek a mandatory order directing that a decision be given;

  • should a decision be made not to withdraw the Notices; the claims should be referred to the Land Claims Court for adjudication;

  • should the claims not be referred to the Land Claims Court, we will either seek an order directing the RLCC to refer them or seek a declaratory order that the claims to all the properties Gazetted are precluded by the fact that no claims to them were lodged with the RLCC before 1 January 1999. 

Farmers are reminded that their pledges are now due and that payment should be made to an LSCCG committee member.


13 May 2004

The uninformed comment in a Sunday newspaper has resulted in numerous press statements being made:  The RLCC is quoted as having indicated a preference for farmland and "surplus-to-requirement" municipal land, as opposed to developed township property, as claimant restitution; the Municipal Manager is quoted as calling for joint responsibility in working towards resolution within the structured legal framework that protects the interests of all stakeholders; and the LSCCG reported serious reservations regarding the procedural and substantive validity of the claims.


11 May 2004

Affected Ratepayer Associations have responded jointly to the Gazetted Amending Notices requesting an urgent meeting with the RLCC:  "Whilst we support the process of restitution and the right compensation being paid to the right persons for the right reasons, we accept neither the validity of the Notices nor the validity of the claims made.  We therefore wish to make representation as called for in the Notices."  


5 May 2004

LSCCG PRESS RELEASE - "VALID" VS "VALIDATED"

Our country has laws in place that protect the rights of all of its people. 

The Restitution of Land Rights Act 22 of 1994 provides for “the restitution of rights in land to persons or communities dispossessed of such rights after 19 June 1913 as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices.”

When the Regional Land Claims Commissioner (RLCC) believes that land claims made may fit these criteria, they are published in Government Gazette Notices as being ‘valid’.  Affected titleholders then have the opportunity to disprove the claims and to limit their extent to that which is legitimate and in fact valid.

As public funds will be used in settlement, it is imperative that titleholders involve themselves in this validation process.

The Lower South Coast Claims Group (LSCCG) represents the interests of the majority of commercial farmers, commercial property owners and all Ratepayers’ Associations affected by Notices published on 14 November 2003 and Amending Notices published on 26 March 2004.  These Notices advised of two land claims covering the entire area bounded by the Imbezane River (Southbroom) in the north, Tongazi River (Munster) in the south, the Tribal Authority in the west and the Indian Ocean in the east.

Since the initial gazetting, the LSCCG has been engaged in protracted communication with the Regional Land Claims Commissioner Ms Thabi Shange. 

Based on all the information supplied by the RLCC as regards these two claims and based on historical research of the area together with senior legal opinion, the LSCCG has serious reservations regarding both the procedural and substantive validity of the claims. To this end, the LSCCG has instructed it’s legal team to challenge both claims in the Land Claims Court.

Affected titleholders have been asked to contribute towards the costs of the joint validation process and are urged to continue with “business as usual”.  Our lower south coast economy remains active and vibrant and will continue to feed the nation and be the playground/retirement destination of national and international sun-seekers. 

The much-published “hold” on sales and improvements simply requires a letter to the RLCC giving 30 days notice of your intentions.  To date, the RLCC has neither objected to a property sale nor halted property development in the area under claim.


3 MAY 2004

Today's meeting with Senior Counsel was most productive and the 'sensational' reporting in the weekend press should be taken with a bag of salt.  Affected titleholders are urged to continue with "business as usual".  Our legal defence is strong.


28 APRIL 2004

The members update meeting was well attended.  

The meeting with Senior Counsel has been set for Monday 3rd May.

If any titleholder has history (1850 to 1950) on their land, or on the area in general, please e-mail it to webmaster@southbroom.org

Please talk to the old-timers in your area and scrutinise old title deeds in your possession.  Every little bit helps to build the bigger picture.


22 APRIL 2004

The "Member Group" is growing and we thank ratepayers who have contributed to the joint validation fund.

In an effort to open dialogue and gain better understanding of the issues, the LSCCG has made every effort to obtain full details of the claims and the identities of the community claimants.  Despite having served terms on the Regional Land Claims Commissioner (RLCC), this information has not been forthcoming.  An approach has been made to the Land Claims Court for a hearing and we now need to urgently serve papers on the RLCC if the matter is to be heard during the 19 April to 25 June 2004 court session.  The LSCCG Executive will be meeting with Senior Counsel to progress the matter.

Members of the LSCCG are invited to attend an update meeting at the Munster Sports Club on Wednesday, 28 April 2004, at 14h00.


13 APRIL 2004

The Combined Umtamvuna Ratepayers' Association (CURA), who represent the Palm Beach and Munster/Glenmore townships, voted unanimously to join the Ratepayers Group and support the LSCCG. 


6 APRIL 2004

LETTER TO RATEPAYERS

We expect printing and mailing of the letter to ratepayers to be completed by Tuesday 13 April 2004.

OPEN LETTER TO LOWER SOUTH COAST RATEPAYERS

As of 26 March 2004, the townships of Southbroom, Marina Beach, Trafalgar, San Lameer, Palm Beach and Glenmore are subject to Land Claims in terms of the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 1994.  Ratepayers are urged to continue with “business as usual” and to support the Lower South Coast Claims Group (LSCCG) in validating the claims collectively.

The nature of the claims

Two communities have laid claims of beneficial occupation (tenancy), for a continuous period of not less than 10 years, prior to dispossession as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices.  These were lodged in respect of land: between the tribal authorities in the west; the Mbizane River in the north; the Tongazi River in the south; and the Admiralty reserve in the east.  This area includes extensive commercial farmland as well as the municipal townships of Southbroom, Marina Beach, San Lameer, Trafalgar, Palm Beach and Munster.

The first gazetted Notice

On 14 November 2003, Notices in respect of those portions of the claims that related to rural (farm) land, together with three urban erven within the Southbroom municipal boundary that still have title deed descriptions that refer to farm portions, were published in the Government Gazette.  Those portions of the claim that related to land within municipal townships were not included in the public notice.

Gazetted Amending Notice

On 26 March 2004, the Regional Land Claims Commissioner published an Amending Notice to include the townships of Southbroom, Marina Beach, San Lameer, Trafalgar, Palm Beach and Glenmore (which includes Munster). 

How does the publication of the Amending Notice affect ratepayers?

The Notice invites any party who has an interest in the land to participate in the process by the submission of comments/information to the Commissioner within 60 days from date of publication.  The Commissioner is required, immediately after publication, to advise each owner of the land in question and any other party which might have an interest in the claim, of the publication of the notice and to refer the owner to the provisions of subsection 7 of the Act, which reads:

  • no person may in an improper manner obstruct the passage of the claim;

  • no person may sell, exchange, donate, lease, subdivide, rezone or develop the land in question without having given the Regional Land Claims Commissioner one month's written notice of his or her intention to do so;

  • no claimant who occupied the land in question at the date of commencement of the Act may be evicted from the said land without the written authority of the Chief Land Claims Commissioner;

  • no person shall in any manner whatsoever remove or cause to be removed, destroy or cause to be destroyed or damage or cause to be damaged, any improvements upon the land without the written authority of the Chief Land Claims Commissioner;

  • no claimant or other person may enter upon and occupy the land without the permission of the owner or lawful occupier.

The HCM municipal manager is currently facilitating an application for a blanket exemption in respect of township land.  The effect of a successful application would be to allow development to proceed unhindered without requiring special, individual or recurring permission.  The Commissioner has indicated that it would be favourably disposed to grant such an application in respect of the “township” component only.

Formation of the Lower South Coast Claims Group (LSCCG)

Following the notice of 14 November 2003, affected titleholders formed the Lower South Coast Claims Group (LSCCG) in order to validate the claims collectively. The LSCCG has taken legal advice and has collected extensive data on the history of the area with special emphasis on dispossession of land rights.

Ratepayers Associations join the LSCCG

When it became apparent that the Regional Land Claims Commissioner intended publishing an Amending Notice to include the municipal townships, the Southbroom, Marina Beach and Trafalgar Ratepayer's Associations and the San Lameer Home Owner's Association saw benefit in joining the LSCCG initiative.  Ratepayers now have representation on the LSCCG committee and are urged to support the group and validate the claims collectively.

How valid claims may be settled

It is been documented that the South African government supports a land reform programme that wishes to see 30% of the country’s farmland in the hands of previously disadvantaged communities by the year 2015.  Should the published claims be valid, it stands to reason that ownership of certain lower south coast farmland could change hands through negotiation, mediation or expropriation in terms of the Restitution of Land Act.  In so far as municipal township land is concerned, it is believed that the chosen equitable redress will be the granting of an appropriate right in alternative State-owned land and/or the payment of compensation by the State and the Commissioner has indicated this in writing to the municipality.

Economic impact on the lower south coast

Whilst owners of municipal township land may draw comfort from the provisions of the Act that pay attention to the current use of the land under claim and the desirability of avoiding major social disruption, ratepayers cannot ignore the negative economic impact that will result if neighbouring commercial farmland ceases to be viable.  Whilst the Commissioner has yet to provide the LSCCG with the identities of the 200 plus claimants involved, it is believed that they are urbanised people who have neither the wish nor the wherewithal to sustain the level of local agriculture.  Ratepayers must also bear in mind that undeveloped municipal owned land within township boundaries that do not form part of future macro-development plans, could be used in exchange for claims in respect of the developed areas.

Request to the Hibiscus Coast Municipality and the UGU Regional Municipality

The LSCCG has made requests to both the Hibiscus Coast Municipality and the UGU District Municipality to cause an independent Economic Impact Assessment to be undertaken.  Both municipalities are affected by the publication of the Notices of the claims and would be failing in their duty were they not to assess the impact that the claims may have on unemployment, food shortage, squatting, crime, tourism and economic development in the area, and to communicate the findings to the Commissioner as a matter of urgency.

The validity of the claims

Whilst the LSCCG accepts that Restitution of Land Rights is a legitimate and necessary process in which it needs to participate, the history of the acquisition and use of the land leads the LSCCG to believe that the claims are invalid or, at best, involve a far smaller area than the land now claimed.  Furthermore, the LSCCG has had several meetings with the offices of the Commissioner and, based on the documentation received to date, it would seem that the claims are invalid.  The opinion of Senior Counsel has been sought and the LSCCG is prepared to take the matter to Court in order to have the Notices withdrawn.

Covering the costs

The costs incurred by the LSCCG in undertaking historical research and retaining legal representation have, to date, been covered by the farming community contributing R1,000 each and pledging a further R2,000 to the initiative.  At a meeting of Ratepayer Association representatives, it was agreed that ratepayers should buy in to the costs already incurred and that they should share 50:50 in the expenses to come in continued historic validation research and the intended court action to have the notices withdrawn. Based on a budget adequate to see the process through to conclusion, and with due regard being paid to the anticipated response from ratepayers, a sum of R200 per ratepayer, sectional title unit owner, or municipal tenant, is required.

Call to ratepayers

Ratepayers are urged to see benefit in the joint validation opportunity afforded by the LSCCG and to deposit R200 each into:

Southbroom Ratepayers Land Claims Standard Bank Margate 05752800

Account number 053273176

 

Payments should be clearly identified by Lot number + Township + Ratepayer, for example:

258 Trafalgar J Bloggs

Ratepayers who own more than one affected property are asked to increase their contribution and ratepayers who do not have the financial means to pay R200 are asked to contribute whatever lesser sum they can afford.  Should the funds so received be surplus to requirement, any balance remaining in the banking account at the end of the process, will be split between the various township’s Ratepayers Associations and be applied to projects of general community benefit.

Do something about it …

No ratepayer can afford not to become involved.  South Africa can do without many things, but it cannot survive without its commercial farmers.  Furthermore, ratepayers in neighbouring villages need to play an active role in ensuring the future well being of their village as well as that of the lower south coast region as a whole.

…and keep up to date

In order to keep ratepayers fully informed of the progress of the LSCCG initiative, the web page: http://www.southbroom.org/land_claims.htm will be maintained and update pages will be added as required.

Signed

Chairman: Southbroom Ratepayers Association

Chairman: Marina Beach and San Lameer Ratepayers Association

Chairman: Trafalgar Ratepayers Association

Chairman: San Lameer Home Owners Association


1 APRIL 2004 - JOINT VALIDATION

The Lower South Coast Land Claims Group (LSCCG) was formed after the original notices were gazetted on 14 November 2003.  At that stage, rural properties (and 3 Southbroom urban properties) were listed.

The LSCCG has taken legal advice and has collected extensive data on the history of the area with special emphasis on dispossession "of rights after 19 June 1913 as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices".

The Southbroom, Marina Beach and Trafalgar Ratepayer's Associations and the San Lameer Home Owner's Association, now have representation on the LSCCG committee and we urge all affected title holders to see  benefit in validating the land claims collectively.

During the course of next week, a letter will be mailed to all ratepayers and municipal tenants, setting out the background and proposed course of action, and calling for a financial contribution to cover our share of the LSCCG costs incurred to date and those estimated to be incurred in reaching finality.

At a meeting of the Ratepayer representatives held this evening, it was agreed to call for a sum of R200 per ratepayer, municipal tenant, and individual sectional title unit owner.

The community is urged to continue with "business as usual".  Restitution of Land Rights is a necessary and legitimate process in which we need to participate.


NOTICES THAT APPEARED IN THE GOVERNMENT GAZETTE OF 26 MARCH 2004

NOTICE 517 OF 2004                    
AMENDMENT NOTICE
GENERAL NOTICE IN TERMS OF THE RESTITUTION

 OF LAND RIGHTS ACT, 1994
(ACT NO. 22 OF 1994)

   
Amending Notice 3228 of 2003 published in Government Gazette No.
25690 on 14 November 2003 to include the following:
   
1. Southbroom Township
2. Marina Beach Township
3. San Lameer Township
4. Trafalgar Township

   
Any party who has an interest in the above-mentioned land is hereby invited to submit, within 60 days from the publication of this notice, under reference number KRN6/2/2/E/41/0/0/89, any comments/information to:
   
The Regional Land Claims Commissioner:
KwaZulu-Natal
Private Bag X9120
Pietermaritzburg
3200
   
Tel: (033) 355-8400
Fax: (033) 342-3409
   
Submissions may also be delivered to:

Second Floor, 200 Church Street,
Pietermaritzburg.
   
THABI SHANGE
REGIONAL LAND CLAIMS COMMISSIONER:
KWAZULU NATAL


NOTICE 516 OF 2004

AMENDMENT NOTICE
GENERAL NOTICE IN TERMS OF THE RESTITUTION

 OF LAND RIGHTS ACT, 1994
(ACT NO. 22 OF 1994)
   

Amending Notice 3227 of 2003 published in Government Gazette No. 25690 on 14 November 2003 to include the following:
   
1. Palm Beach Township
2. Glenmore Township

   
Any party who has an interest in the above-mentioned land is hereby invited to submit, within 60 days from the publication of this notice, under reference number KRN6/2/2/E/41/0/0/68, any comments/information to:
   
The Regional Land Claims Commissioner:
KwaZulu-Natal
Private Bag X9120
Pietermaritzburg
3200
   
Tel: (033) 355-8400
Fax: (033) 342-3409
   
Submissions may also be delivered to:

Second Floor, 200 Church Street,
Pietermaritzburg.
   
THABI SHANGE
REGIONAL LAND CLAIMS COMMISSIONER:
KWAZULU NATAL