The community of KwaMaphumulo lodged their land claim in 1995, submitting all the required information along with it, and according to the correspondence from Pietermaritzburg Regional Land Claims Commission, the community met all the requirements, and the claim was a valid one. And yet it remains unresolved. This is despite numerous attempts by the community to follow up.
Mr. Mavundla, the induna of the area, told the meeting of the 28th of November 2014, at which the Land Desk, Rev Mavuso of Rural Network and the Justice and Peace Coordinator of Mzimkhulu Diocese, Mr. Michaels Shabalala were present, of his numerous failed attempts to follow up with Mr. Ncobeni of the Commission. According to Mr. Mavundla, the last word from Mr. Ncobeni was that he no longer wanted to talk to him. If what Mr. Mavundla told the meeting was anything to go by, it is shocking to the extreme that a government official, charged with the responsibility to serve the public, would say this.
Mr. Michael Shabalala had been asked to attend the meeting to share the experiences of Mzimkhulu community which lodged its restitution claim in 1998. He started by expressing his shock at what the Commission staff was alleged to have said and done over the years. He charged that this was a clear violation of the rights of claimants. He then shared that the Mzimkhulu claim was also sitting at the Land Claims Commission in Pietermaritzburg unattended for 16 years, until Justice and Peace, – mandated by the Chief Zulu and the tribe -, took the matter up and demanded a meeting with the Commission.
The meeting itself was very robust and at times highly charged with emotions. People expressed their anger at the officials’ lackadaisical attitude. However, as a result of that meeting the claim is now being processed. He advised KwaMaphumulo tribe to do likewise. He further cautioned them that having a meeting alone is not enough. Constant pressure thereafter was key to getting the Commission to act. He told them that his job since their meeting with the Commission has been to call the office every second or third day.
His message was well received, and a plan to set up an appointment with the Commission in January 2015 was provisionally made. It couldn’t be finalised as the tribe was preparing to install their new chief on the 14th of December. They undertook to convince the new chief to take up the matter of this claim to be his first order of business.