Handover of over R55.98 million to tenant land claimants from the Roosboom community in the Uthukela District
MEC for KZN Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), Mr Cyril Xaba, commended the Provincial Land Claims Commission for paying out over R55,98 million to 581 land claimants from the Roosboom Community near Ladysmith.
MEC Xaba said this was one of the largest payouts made to date by the Commission. He noted that two earlier compensation payouts were also made in 2006 and 2007 to other members of the community who were forcefully removed from their homes. In 2006, 350 former tenants of the area received compensation of over R12,78 million and in 2007, eleven former landowners received compensation of R1,68 million. On Saturday a celebratory function was held at the Ezakheni C Community Hall where financial compensation vouchers were handed over to the 581 household claimants. They represent 1250 beneficiaries, 850 of whom are women and 22 who are disabled.
Addressing the gathering, MEC Xaba reminded the community that Roosboom was once known as a “black spot.” He said that according to the 1936 Native Trust Land Act, black spots referred to farms that were black owned in areas were the surrounding farms were all white owned. The aim was to remove these black spots and a process of forced removals began in 1956. Altogether in the province of Natal at the time, 363 areas were identified as Black spots. MEC Xaba said the removal of the Roosboom Community represented an important chapter in the Province’s history.
“It is a story that must be taught to our children so that they understand our painful past and appreciate the freedom that we enjoy today,” he added. According to MEC Xaba at Roosboom, the apartheid government used a different tactic to force people out of the area.
The Local Health Commission ruled that no new houses could be built nor existing houses extended without permission from authorities. Permission when sought, was not granted and gradually homes began to deteriorate and fall apart. By 1972, the township of Ezakheni was built, expropriation notices were served on families and the majority were moved to Ezakheni.
He said a big blow to the families was the discovery that they could not take their cattle, goats or sheep. They also found the plots of land were so small that they could no longer carry on with subsistence farming.