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Wednesday Dec 19, 2012

Cape family to get 10ha of state land in Constantia after Sillery Farm claim

Ten hectares of land in Constantia have been awarded to a city family forced to sell their Sillery Farm property over 50 years ago.

It is not, however, the first prize the Sadien family had hoped for: restoration of the prime, multi-million-rand property of which they were dispossessed. The Land Claims Court ordered that Sedick Sadien be awarded alternative land owned by the state in Constantia.

It was unclear exactly where in the area the erf is.

While two family members were cited as applicants in the court action - Sedick and Ebrahim Sadien - Acting Judge Mokotedi Mpshe found that only Sedick was entitled to a claim as he was the son of Rashaad Sadien who originally lodged a land claim.

It is envisioned, though, that the whole family will benefit from the acquisition of the land. The family was dispossessed of their land in 1958 when, under the pressure of the Group Areas Act, they sold it to Jacob Badenhorst, a manager at Groot Constantia, for R13 500.

Just five years earlier, they'd bought it from their father Dout's estate for about R22 000.

The property is located along Constantia Road and has recently been estimated to have a potential value of R134 million. It is owned by an entity (one of Badenhorst's descendants is a director) which plans to develop the land.

The Sadiens have previously secured a court order interdicting them from carrying on with the development but Acting Judge Mpshe lifted it. He said it was the law that both the rights of the owner and claimant were respected.

The Sadiens, he wrote, had known about the owner's plans to develop the land as early as 2002 when they'd been served with a notice, but the regional Land Claims Commission had only reacted seven years later.

Acting Judge Mpshe wrote: "Regarding restoration of the property, an evaluation of the property will have to be conducted.

"It was suggested that the property may be worth an amount in the region of R80m and R140m. I am aware of the strain on the finances of the department [Rural Development and Land Reform]. However, the claimants have always opted for alternative state land."

Although Sedick Sadien is a descendent of only one of the five brothers, he did not see fit to award him only one-fifth of the size of the family's original property. The family had lived a communal life on the land, which they'd co-owned.

"I am of the opinion that the land to be restored be shared or enjoyed accordingly by all including those descendants who have not lodged a claim," he wrote.

Ighsaan Sadien, speaking on Sedick's behalf, said they had agreed it would be a family claim. Acting Judge Mpshe noted that the claimants hadn't achieved success against the respondents - in this case the owner and Hein Badenhorst - but against the state.

Cape Times

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