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Friday Dec 21, 2012

Sadien family seeks clarification on property compensation

A family forced from their Constantia farm in the 1950s - and which is now worth millions of rand - wants clarification from the Land Claims Court after discovering that the land they have been awarded in compensation is only 2.6 hectares, and worth just over R2.5 million.

his piece of land near Constantiaberg Mediclinic has been identified by a member of the Sadien family as the land they have been awarded by the Land Claims Court.

It is also more towards Meadowridge, they believe, than Constantia.

The Sadien family was on Tuesday awarded 10ha of alternative land in Constantia.

The judgment comes more than 50 years after they were forced to sell their Sillery Farm property in accordance with the Group Areas Act.

But it is their understanding that there could be a "discrepancy" in their Land Claims Court victory.

Attorney Ighsaan Sadien, a member of the family who helped lodge the case, said he had researched the erf referred to in the judgment and found that the property - on the corner of Weltevreden Drive and Long Street near Constantiaberg Medi clinic - was 2.6ha, not 10ha as expected.

His research had also revealed that it was worth about R2.65m; however, he was not sure whether this figure was up to date.

Several members of the family held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the issue, as well as the outcome of the case.

Sadien said he would take up what he suspected was a "discrepancy" with the court for clarification. Three vacant, state-owned properties were cited in the judgment as being available, all with Constantia erf numbers.

The property that was awarded to the Sadiens had been chosen because it was closest in size to the dispossessed land - now a prime property along Constantia Road. It has previously been estimated to have a potential value of R134m.

"We're happy about the judgment but if it's just that piece of land, it's not adequate compensation and we'll have to go back to the drawing board," he said.

Sadien said it was possible that all three alternative pieces of land made up 10ha and that they were meant to have been awarded all three properties.

He intended to look at the title deeds of all three to see whether the court had made an "error".

"The property that was taken was prime property. You could let the horses run free on it," said Sadien. "This is just a piece of land in Meadowridge. It's not even in Constantia."

However, he said he believed the family would be satisfied as long as they received a full 10ha in the vicinity.

Although only one member of the family - Sedick Sadien, 36 - was awarded the land, it was envisioned in Acting Judge Mokotedi Mpshe's judgment that the whole family would benefit from it.

When the family lodged their application they had wanted their dispossessed land back but the court had instead awarded them alternative land.

Vuyani Nkasayi, regional spokesman for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, said they had received the judgment only on Wednesday and would study it before commenting.

Cape Times

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