Victims seek redress

TAKING ACTION: Community members who were forcefully removed from Mlungisi in the apartheid era recently engaged in a meeting to collect a list of names for a land claim Picture: ZINTLE BOBELO

A large group of community members who claim to have been forcefully removed from Mlungisi to Ezibeleni in 1974 have sought legal action regarding a land claim.

One of the residents, Mpumelelo Nomtayi, said the affected parties lodged a land claim in 1994 to which some were not fully financially compensated. “People were given irregular amounts and we were not happy. After following this up we reached a decision to go the legal route and we approached Sithembele Modi of S Modi Attorneys to assist.”

Nomtayi said the group consists of 1 200 people indicating that various meetings were held to ensure that everyone involved received their share.

Speaking to The Rep, Modi said the residents felt that those who had received money were underpaid and had requested the firm to pursue the matter.

A part of their claim was processed but only paid to some. On our side, the matter has not yet started. We have not lodged any relevant document with the department because they [residents] were still collecting data. On our last consultation I had given an indication that they separate the list of people into two groups. There is a group of people who will lodge a new claim and the other group which was underpaid. We are now consolidating everything on our side. It is quite voluminous, it needs a lot of time so that we submit accurate information to avoid any mistakes. Not everyone might qualify, others might be disqualified due to lack of documentation but we are hopeful that we are going to be successful in pursuing the claim for people of Ezibeleni. I am from the area and I am doing it for my community,” said Modi.

The removal greatly affected our family. We lost all our belongings as a result my mother died shortly after because of stress. We did not receive anything up to today,” said resident Nozizwe Thembani.

We were removed from all social amenities and some of us had to quit school because of travelling costs. When people finally get what they deserve it would mean that their dignity is restored,” said another resident Sipho Sikilishe.

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