Battle for land ends after 22 years

Constitutional Court rules in favour of Prudhoe community in the Eastern Cape

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The Constitutional Court has dismissed an appeal, which means that the Prudhoe community’s claim to land in the Eastern Cape is finally successful. Archive photo: Ashraf Hendricks

A 22-year land battle by a small community in the Eastern Cape has come to an end with a decision by the Constitutional Court.

The 300 families in the Prudhoe community are to return to a piece of land for which they have been fighting since 1988, when the community lodged a claim under the restitution of Land Act. The large piece of land includes land on which the Fish River Sun Resort is located.

In a statement on Tuesday the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) said that the case was finally resolved “after two trials in the land claims court, three appeals to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) and two trips to the Constitutional Court”. Most of the appeals came from the Mazizini Community who laid claim to the land themselves. The Constitutional Court dismissed their appeal, bringing the saga to an end.

“It is a tragedy that 109 of the original 124 heads of the Prudhoe households’ claimants have passed away - many in extreme poverty - without seeing the outcome of their claim,” said the LRC.

Prudhoe community member Gladman Tom, said in the statement “This has been a painful and drawn out struggle to reclaim the land we were forcibly removed from.”

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TOPICS:  Land

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