The Holy Cross Anglican Church has been restored back its land more than 70 years after it was dispossessed. The church was stripped of the land in 1951 with ownership later transferring to the Transkei’s Department of Health, and the church’s land being used as a state hospital in Flagstaff, Eastern Cape.
Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister, Thoko Didiza who led the celebration, says the church lost its land as a consequence of the Native Trust and Land Act of 1936.
“We’ve been working with them to see if they would want alternative land or another form of award. They chose financial compensation which now they will use for the development work of the church” the Minister added.
The church received a twenty million Rand settlement from the government. The Holy Cross Anglican Church lost school buildings, a Post Office, and milk-producing cattle with the land dispossession. The church’s Reverend Thanduxolo Magadla says, “Now that the government is handing over the land I have no words. One of the things the church is going to use the money on is social issues.”
As part of the compensation, the Department will also provide school bags and jerseys to four schools on the land and give garden tools to local farmers. Beneficiaries of these donations, Zanele September and Nontuthuzelo Mgwili, say the will improve their lives.
This is the second land claim to be resolved for the body of the Anglican Church, and the compensation of Holy Cross Anglican Church comes after the church fought for more than eight years to get their land back.