November 16, 2003

Final reparations to apartheid victims / land restitution / Fagan sacked

Government has published regulations that pave way for the payment of the R30.000 Final Reparation to people who were declared victims of apartheid by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). This initiates the last stage of disbursing reparations in line with Parliament's adoption of the TRC recommendations presented to Parliament by President Thabo Mbeki. In a statement, the government announced that the regulations stipulated whom the Reparations Grant would be paid to in various circumstances.

It has also been announced that the community of Giba in the White River District, Mpumalanga, has received 1.645 hectares of land as part of government's land restitution process. Mpumalanga Agriculture MEC Candid Mashigo-Dlamini handed the Burgers Hall farm to the community at a ceremony held here yesterday.

About 500 households will benefit from the land claim, for which the Land Claims Commission has spent R29.232.738 to purchase. Spokesperson for the Land Claims Commission, Xolani Luthuli, announced that the land was being used for banana and ginger farming and that the claimants, represented by the Communal Property Association (CPA) would continue farming on the land. "In land restitution cases of this nature the Commission only hands over land to a legal entity that represents the claimants rather than giving it to individuals," said Mr Luthuli. The South African Farm Management has agreed to assist the claimants run the farm as well provide skills development in this regard.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times has reported that South African Apartheid victims have terminated the mandate to the prominent US lawyer Ed Fagan to represent their compensation claims before US courts. According to statements, the victims blame Fagan for “lack of commitment” as well as for technical and factual errors. The court case in New York, however, will proceed further with legal firm Hausfeld now representing the victims exclusively. (Bua News, Pretoria / Financial Times, London)

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