Boost in support for Sarda

Sarda treasurer Michelle Hart, attorney Michael Wagner, Sarda's Belinda Thim-Bain and Bee Lukey.

Andrew Sampson, the son of the woman who founded the South African Riding for the Disabled Association (SARDA) has come out in support of it as it battles to find alternative land.

Mr Sampson, 52, lives in Plumstead. His mother, Belinda Sampson, founded Sarda in 1973 and he was one of five initial riders on two horses.

“I’ve been out of it so long although I’ve heard about the land claim and could no longer stand by and watch. This organisation is the lifeline of so many disabled people and benefits them in many different ways,” he said. “It has always been multiracial and for many children it’s the only enjoyment they have all week and provides an opportunity to be in nature as well as having therapy,” said Mr Sampson.

Mr Sampson has been on the governing body of Vista Nova School for many years. It has campuses in Pinelands and Rondebosch and takes children who have barriers to learning.

He said he had witnessed first hand the benefits of Sarda’s therapy. “It’s incredibly satisfying. I can’t stand by any longer and watch,” he said. Earlier this year, Sarda lost its Constitutional Court case to stay on the land it has occupied since 1983 (“SARDA loses battle,” Bulletin February 3). The 8.9ha land has now been awarded to the Sadien family in recompense for the approximately 5ha Sillery land they owned prior to being removed under apartheid’s Group Areas Act.

The Constitutional Court ruled the organisation be awarded compensation, but the next step is to wait for a date in the land claims court to determine the amount of the compensation.

Sarda’s Belinda Thom-Bain said they were seeking compensation in the form of land and not money.

At a meeting on Friday March 17, she said they were “searching for a needle in a haystack” in their search for suitable

“No-one in this area is interested. We’ve approached the wine farms, and the Constantia Residents and Ratepayers’ Association (CRRA) backed off saying there is nothing they can do.”

However CRRA’s John Hesom said that was not true. He checked correspondence of 2014 between the then CPOA (Constantia Property Owners Association) and Belinda Thom which explained their stance. “We supported the restitution of land in Constantia to the Sadien family and had no involvement or say whatsoever in which portion of land would be given to the Sadien family. The CPOA was at no stage a party to the Sadien’s case before the land claims court.”

The CPOA, he said, had then tried to meet with Sarda, but that meeting had never happened because Sarda hadn’t come back to the association.

Mr Hesom said the CPOA did not know what was planned for the site and had not received any planning applications from the City to comment on.

Ms Thom-Bain said they needed at least 3ha and could pay rent. “We’re a phenomenal cause,” she said.

She said whatever land they had found had either been earmarked for land claims or development.