There have been mixed reactions from the parties involved in the ruling handed down by the Constitutional Court over the land claim of Salem Community.
On Monday, the Constitutional Court ruled that all parties involved, the landowners, descendants of 1820 settlers and the claimants, who are descendants of the AmaXhosa group that stayed in Salem, should share the land, and the landowners do not have exclusive rights to the land.
The claimants own five farms from the 38 farms in Salem but wanted to claim all of them. The matter has been referred back to the Land Claim Court to determine a remedy on what the landowners are entitled to.
Chairperson of the Salem Community Committee, Misile Nondzube says “I feel so good and happy for the community of Salem. But I’m not happy about the fact that we should divide because to me that land belongs to our forefathers.”
Attorney of the Salem Party Club of settlers, Bertus Van Der Merwe says although there are no winners in this ruling, it has given both parties a direction to take.
“The constitutional court has now expressly held that the claimants have never occupied the land under claim to the exclusion of the landowners who are primarily the descents of the 1820 Settlers. The court now has given written submission to the rights of 1820 settlers and the current landowners,” Van Der Merwe.