Tears, sadness and joy greeted the news that a 6ha parcel of land in Constantia would be handed over to eight families forced off their land in the area almost 50 years ago under apartheid.
Yesterday, Wednesday February 8, the families’ representatives gathered at a marquee on Long and Boundary roads, in Constantia, where mayor Patricia de Lille signed over transfer of the land, which is worth R120 million, to the regional Land Claims Commissioner.
The site is known to residents as the Ladies Mile drop-off.
Abdulatief Abrahams, who is part of the Cornelius Family Trust, said he had been unable to sleep the night before.
Sisters Wadoeda Adams and Farieda Daniels were both thrilled. The ceremony yesterday had followed a meeting with the mayor on Monday when she had told them the good news.
“When we went to the meeting with Patricia de Lille on Monday, we thought it was another hiccup in the lengthy process over many years,” said Ms Daniels.
“For three years we’ve heard nothing from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
“Then our mom dies last September and last week there were issues over servitude and before that a traffic impact assessment.
“But, oh my goodness, we couldn’t believe it when we heard the good news. We started crying.”
Another family representative, Fatima Behardien, said: “There are no words to express how I feel after all these years. Mayor De Lille has delivered on her promise.”
The families were evicted after Constantia was declared a white area in 1961 in terms of the Group Areas Act.
This is a second generation claim as some of the original claimants have already died. The oldest living beneficiary will be 90 years old this year.