Landowner fights for return of expropriated land
A landowner on KZN’s north coast who acquired his property via the land reform process is battling a local municipality that allegedly expropriated the property without his knowledge for a low-cost housing project. According to a report on the IoL site, the matter was set down for argument in the KZN High Court (Durban) this week.
Represented by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), Bhekie Dlamini is fighting the KwaDukuza Local Municipality (Stanger area) for the return of the 31 351 ha of land it expropriated – allegedly without Dlamini’s knowledge – which has been in his family for generations.
Alternatively, Dlamini is seeking 'fair and just compensation' for the property. Dlamini’s property – previously owned by the state – was registered in his name in September 2002. The transfer was part of land reform undertaken by the then Department of Land Affairs, which first contacted Dlamini’s mother in 1999 to alert her to the issuing of title deeds.
Dlamini was one of about 50 residents who had their land expropriated to make way for the Charlotte Dale Housing Project, which is set to supply homes and basic services to those living in informal housing.
Dlamini said he had never seen the expropriation notice, which was published in a regional newspaper in February 2012 and officially gazetted in March 2013. But the municipality insists Dlamini knew about the expropriation and did not lodge a formal objection within the stipulated time period.
Dlamini is contesting this assertion, saying he could not obtain relevant information from the municipality in order to lodge a complaint. He is asking that the court condone his late objection. The matter was postponed to 19 February and moved to the KZN High Court (Pietermaritzburg).
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