In light of growing criticism by Constantia residents of the development plans for the land reclaimed by the Solomon family, the Constantia Ratepayers and Residents Association (CRRA) met with the family this week to discuss the way forward. The CRRA last week conducted an online poll to document community sentiment about the family’s plans to construct a Shoprite centre on their land. The poll indicated that the community at large indicated that it does not support the development plans, citing concerns that the Shoprite centre will not attract customers from within the area. The Solomon family, as well as the greater Cape Flats community came out in opposition, saying that land claimants withhold the right to develop their land to its full potential.
The land in question is today divided into two properties, spanning an area of 14 562m². The family farmed the land from 1902 and resided on the farm for 65 years prior to being expelled under the Group Areas Act. The family’s proposed development would span 7 811m² of their land.
Speaking to VOC, founder of the Solomon Family Trust, Rashaad Solomon explains that the meeting with the CRRA was a positive step forward, as he was able to provide insight into the family’s history on the land.
Following negative comments from residents in response to the family’s plans for the land, he says that the CRRA has distanced itself from the respondent’s sentiments.
“We explained to the CRRA that in terms of the new constitution people have the right to develop their land. And in the court order it is clear that we have the right to develop our land to its full potential.”
In light of the state of the soil, Solomon asserts that farming the land remains impossible and may not be sustainable. He says that the CRRA, therefore, understands that the family’s plan to develop a shopping centre is the only viable option available to them.
Solomon confirmed that the Solomon family is working to have the land claims of all claimants speedily, including the; Cornelius, Allie, and Ebrahim families.
He says that the land reclaim process will take place in three phases.
The Constantia Ratepayers and Residents Associations are at present unable to formally comment on the matter as it is in the process of assessing the application.