Speech for the land hand over celebration for the Asian Community Claim: Marabastad, North West province delivered by the Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs Ms Lulama Xingwana
The Executive Mayor for the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa
The Chief Land Claims Commissioner, Thozi Gwanya
The Regional Land Claims Commissioner Gauteng and North West province
Commissioner Tumi Seboka
Members of the Asian Community
Claimants and beneficiaries
Members of the media
This is such a special day for me, where I give you back the Title Deed of this land to those who were victims of racial land dispossession. The apartheid government had no respect for black people; it does not matter whether you were African, Indian or Coloured. They never respected our customs, our culture, our churches and our chiefs. We were all victims of the Group Areas Act. Our cosmopolitan communities were dismantled into ethnic townships.
It is our intention as this democratic government to re-establish integrated human settlements, where class is not used as a dividing factor. In the rural areas they used "black spot" removals to whiten our farm land. In the cities they used Group Areas Act to divide us. Today we are here to reverse this barbaric act. I am very glad to hear that you are planning, under the able leadership of this Executive Mayor, to use some of this land for human settlements by the claimants. This will contribute to our goal of integrated human settlements.
This joyous day marks one of the milestones of our restitution programme, the return of the land to the Asian community of Marabastad. Halala Marabastad Halala! Halala Marabastad Halala! The Asian community resided in what was called the Asiatic Bazaar area since 1903. In terms of the Group Areas Act, the Asiatic Bazaar area was declared a controlled area under the apartheid government. The community was restricted from further erecting any structural buildings in the area, and this to a great extend curtailed the community's social and economic activities.
Proclamation 150 of 1958 declared a greater extent of Pretoria a white area. The implication for this was that Asians who resided elsewhere in Pretoria outside the Asiatic Bazaar area had to relocate. They could however not move to the Asiatic Bazaar area as further expansion of the area had been forbidden by the then government. In order to address the situation, Marabastad which had previously been occupied by black people, was then reserved by the government as an Indian trading area known as the Asiatic Bazaar Extension 1.
Under the apartheid government, the Asian community's settlement in the Marabastad area was not to be a case of the community 'living happily ever after' in the area. In 1967 the Asian community was dispossessed of the land that they had come to rely on for their livelihood. In terms of Section 12 (2) of the Community Development Act 1966, control of the Asiatic Bazaar and Asiatic Bazaar Ext 1 previously known as Marabastad, was taken from the Council and vested in the Community Development Board. It was in terms of sub section 2 of section 21 of the Community Development Act that the previous government removed the Asian community from the area.
The settlement of this claim will benefit 72 households and approximately 252 beneficiaries involving 126 properties. The total land restored measures in extend of 31 248 square metres with a total value of R7 560 000. Today we are here to give the Title Deeds for your land. Today is the day of celebration! In addition to the restoration of the land, this African National Congress (ANC) led government is giving each household a Restitution discretionary grant of R3 000 which amounts to a total of R216 000. This will enable you to do proper planning for all the development that is envisaged for this area. The Regional Land Claims Commission Gauteng and North West is working together with the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality to implement the transfer of the land to the claimant community.
The settlement of this claim should usher in a new day for the claimant community. You know the pain of being marginalised. I urge you to work together with all the relevant structures to make sure that this area is restored back to its former vibrancy. I wish you well for the future. I want to come back here one day and find a prosperous neighbourhood bursting with high value economic activity.
The apartheid government had little regard of your well being. We in the new democratic government of South Africa believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. May you be prosperous and make a meaningful contribution to the country's job creation and poverty alleviation initiative.
I want to encourage you to work very closely with all the descendants of those who were previous residents of Marabastad. Let us work together to rebuild our communities. I have been told that you are planning various business developments on this land. I would like to see representative black economic empowerment (BEE) partnerships in those businesses.
Our government is creating an enabling environment for these black initiatives to prosper. Can you lead by example in this area so that the world can see that we can all work together to create a prosperous South Africa. I would like to come back to a Marabastad that has a new face, a Marabastad that is an icon for this City of Pretoria. Lets us see new and great developments that benefit all of our people in this place.
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Agriculture
29 July 2007