Dear Sir 7th May 2013
In a recent resolution of the Land Restitution case against the Badenhorst family of Sillery Farm the land leased by NGO South African Riding for Disabled (SARDA) for 32 years, Erf 142, Constantia was granted to the Sadien family. It has been said that the claim has now been “settled”.How can this be since all interested and affected parties are only informed of this “fact’” via press reports?
Acting Justice Mpshe has clearly not applied his mind to the issue and made no attempt to consult with the legal tenant of the property Erf 142 which he ordered be transferred to the Sadien family. Nor did he attempt to assess that the property awarded was indeed comparable in value to the property which the Sadien family was forced to sell under the Group Areas Act.While one can have no objection to justice being served at last to the Sadiens who have been so unfairly treated beecause of the iniquitous Group Areas Act, if Acting Justice Mpshe had as a common courtesy insisted that the long term tenant, the South African Riding for the Disabled Association (SARDA) be involved from the outset he would have learnt that
a) the land being erf 142 came into government possession as “Endowment” for subdivision rights granted by the then Cape Provincial government by the landowners being the Madden and Marais families.
b) that the endowment land was designated for “educational purposes” only,
c) that the then CapeProvincial administration in1981 entered into a 20 year rent-free lease agreement with SARDA. Attempts to formalise a long-term agreement with successive government authorities failed and SARDA was obliged to accept an annual rental which was subsequently reduced to a monthly figure..
d) that the new Western Cape Provincial administration declined to accept rental payments from SARDA as it was averred that the property now vested in the national government and SARDA was informed that approaches to formalise should be addressed to the appropriate national government authority.
e) That SARDA, notwithstanding extensive enquiries, had been unable to identify any national government authority to which rental due should be paid and consequently has been paying the rental money to an attorney’s trust account.
It would seem to be that Acting Justice Mpshe received no guidance from the State and accordingly found no reason to deny the claim to the land by the Sadien family. He made his ruling on an erroneous assumption that the land was vacant despite the fact that SARDA has been there so long that the land on which it stands with its indoor equestrian arena, stables, paddocks, storerooms and toilet facilities, is designated on the Cape Town Streetfinder as an “Equestrian Centre”.
Furthermore the Judge appears to have ignored the fact that there is a huge disparity between the value of the Sillery Farm property and the property now awarded to the Sadien family.This disparity is clearly evident to any informed lay individual.
One is tempted to ask why, if the Sadien family were allowed to pick and choose what state property would be adequate compensation, a piece of the Groot Constantia vineyard or WynbergPark was not selected. The answer is unfortunately rather obvious; land used by a public benefit organization such as SARDA is a much softer target. This is an organistion run by volunteers which supplies free weekly therapeutic riding lessons to about 220 children with physical disabilities of various kinds from special needs schools from all over the Peninsula and mainly from previously disadvantaged areas.
According to reports at least 98 land claims in Constantia are still to be settled.It is indeed surprising that such a huge award should be claimed by one family, the Sadiens, who seem content that the remaining claimants will have to be satisfied with any scraps left over in Constantia. Is this seemingly capricious award what Acting Justice Mpshe would regard as an equitable settlement? I suppose it is a vain hope that if any equity is to be obtained in final settlement of the Constantia land claims, the ad hoc ruling in the matter of the Sadien family claim would be rescinded in order that all claims are fairly treated. How far will the so-called “vacant” land in Constantia stretch in order to settle other such outrageous claims after one family has been permitted to identify the best piece of State land and claim it for themselves only?
And where to now for SARDA, a most esteemed organisation? Is the state going to assist in finding similar land nearby so that they may continue their valuable work?
Philip van der Spuy, 23 Rocklands Road, Simon’s Town, 7975. Tel-Fax 021 786 4409.
Cell:082 465 9915
March 8 2013 at 01:43pm
Attorney IghsaanSadien points out the Constantia land the Land Claims Court awarded his family. The family lost the Sillery Farm property. Picture: JEFFREY ABRAHAMS
Cape Town – The Land Claims Commission has 98 claims yet to process in Constantia after finalising its 38th claim in the area with the Sadien family, who were forced out 50 years ago when the area was reserved for whites by apartheid decree.
The family was awarded an 8.9-hectare, state-owned property, partly bordering Brommersvlei Road and Rathfelder Avenue in Constantia, by the Land Claims Court last month.
Attorney IghsaanSadien is a member of the family and helped lodge the case.
The family owned Sillery Farm until they were forced to sell it in 1963 under the Group Areas Act.
VuyaniNkasayi, regional spokesman for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, said that of 156 claims lodged with the department, 20 had been rejected for failing to meet the criteria.
Nkasayi said most of the outstanding claims related to land that had been developed, and the claimants would be provided with alternative land.
The land awarded to the Sadien family is being used by SA Riding for the Disabled (Sarda), which is renting it from the Department of Public Works.
Sarda provides free riding classes to 200 pupils from 14 special needs schools in Cape Town.
Nkasayi said Sarda had not been kept out of the loop as the department wanted to focus on the legal process.
Nkasayi said now that the court case had been completed the future of those using the land would be discussed.
Sarda spokeswoman Donnaveen Howe said the organisation had been using the property for more than 30 years.
According to the city, the land is valued at R53 million.
The Constantia Property Owners Association is to discuss the issue next week, but executive committee member Yvonne Leibman said it had been following the case and supported the Sadien claim.
DoutSadien bought Sillery Farm in 1902 and farmed the land.
His five sons bought the property from his estate in 1958 for about R22 000, but the family was forced to sell the farm under the Group Areas Act.
March 7 2013 at 10:47am
By Leila Samodien
Cape Town - A prime property in the heart of Constantia – which could be worth hundreds of millions of rands – has been awarded to a Cape Town family forced out of the leafy suburb 50 years ago.
The Land Claims Court has awarded the Sadien family an 8.9-hectare, state-owned property, partly bordering Brommersvlei Road and Rathfelder Avenue.
Attorney IghsaanSadien is a member of the family who helped lodge the case. The property is now being used as a riding school for the disabled.
The family originally owned the Sillery Farm property until they were forced to sell it in 1963. Sillery farm has a prime location in Constantia Road and has previously been estimated to have a potential value of R134 million.
The Sadien family has been given the land after a lengthy court battle and Land Claims case. Three months ago the court first awarded them 10ha of alternative land in Constantia. But they discovered that the piece of land cited in the court order was only 2.6ha, worth about R2.5m, and that it was located more towards Meadowridge than Constantia.
IghsaanSadien approached the Land Claims Court seeking clarification. Acting Judge MokotediMpshe has now amended his court order, instead awarding the family the 8.9ha piece of land. His amended order was handed down last month, but only came to light this week.
It was not immediately clear how the property is zoned or its exact worth in its current state. Mike Greeff, founder of Greeff-Christies Properties, said if the property was zoned for residential use, sub-divided into plots the same size as the surrounding erven and installed with services – such as a boundary wall, water and electricity connections, and roads – he would estimate that the property had a potential value of between R210m and R250m.
The property, he said, was located in a prime part of Constantia. “It’s in a beautiful area with stunning, north-facing views,” said Greeff.
Sadien said while it wasn’t exactly 10ha, the family was satisfied.
“We had to go with the 8.9ha land because the court made an error and this is the closest (piece of available land) to what the court decided,” he said. “The family is happy with it.”
His only concern was that there was a horse riding school on the land. According to a sign at an entrance to the property, SA Riding for the Disabled operates on the premises.
The SA Riding for the Disabled Association, however, has not been notified of the decision. “We have a lease in place and we pay rent,” said public liaison Donnaveen Howe. “We’ve had no notification of this and, therefore, cannot comment.”
Sadien said he would meet the City of Cape Town and the Land Claims Commission to address the matter of the riding school, as well as discuss transferring the title deed into the family’s name.
The family was yet to decide what they would do with the land. Most of them wanted to move back and live on the land; however, he expected this would take at least three to five years to materialise.
DoutSadien originally bought the Sillery Farm in 1902, using it for agricultural purposes. His five sons bought the property from his estate in 1958 for about R22 000, but the family was forced to sell under the Group Areas Act. Jacob Badenhorst bought Sillery for R13 550 in 1963, R8 450 less than the sons paid for it five years earlier. The property is now owned by an entity, of which one of Badenhorst’s descendants is a director, which planned to develop the land.