Report on land claims related to the farm Nooitgedacht 333 JR in the Gauteng Province (Case no LCC171/2012)Summary
Archaetnos cc was requested by the Edendale Doxa Deo School to investigate information relating to three land claims. These are the claim from Madumetja Fanie Sekatana and others (Case no LCC171/2012), Moses Harry Tshabalala (Case number unknown) and the Hwaduba of BaKgatla ba Lekhuleni Paramount Chiefdom (Case no 161/10). The claims was lodged in terms of the provision of the Restitution of Lands Rights Act (Act 22 of 1994). The current land owners however are disputing the land claim.
The Sekatana claim is lodged on portion 13 (a portion of portion 1) of the farm Nooitgedacht 333 JR. The Tshabalala claim is lodged against the Remainder of portion 13 of the same farm. The Hwaduba claim forms part of a much larger claim, which includes the entire farm Nooitgedacht 333 JR. The farm Nooitgedacht is situated to the east of the City of Tshwane and to the north of the Magaliesberg Mountain range, close to Mamelodi in the Gauteng Province.
The Terms of Reference for the study were as follows:
• To conduct historical and archaeological research on the claim of the Sekatana family.
• To include information that may assist with regards to the claims of the Tshabalala family and the Hwaduba.
• To investigate the existence of any kind of ruins, graves or historical structures on the claimed land and who they might have belonged to, and to determine if these might be for the people indicated above.
• To obtain oral evidence in as far as areas within the claimed land is concerned.
• To study historical information related to the claims mentioned.
• To give an account of the history of the claimed farm.
• To draft a report, based on the above mentioned.
The investigation of archaeological sites and graves was limited to those indicated by the owners. Archival information and those obtained in the Deeds Office are sometimes not complete as a result of the bad state of preservation of these records.
An important aspect relating to any kind of historical research is the difference between scientific proof, based on written historical sources, and oral historical sources. The credibility and validity of the first mentioned is accepted due to the fact that it is housed in government archives where only original documents are stored. The credibility and validity of last mentioned is a much more complex issue. These need to be tested against other oral accounts, physical evidence and afore mentioned written documents through a process of authenticity and credibility.
Different methods were combined in doing the study. A survey of literature was undertaken in order to obtain historical information regarding the area and the people who lived there. Information from the old farm registers in the Deeds Office in Pretoria as well as documents from the National Archives in Pretoria was studied in order to obtain additional information. Archaeological sites (including graves and ruins) were visited in order to assess these.
The first claim is the one lodged by Mr. Sekatana. They are only claiming tenure rights. They stayed on the farm since the 1950’s, were employed by the farm owner and stated that they have always enjoyed the right to graze cattle, own goats and chickens and to grow crops. This include the right to reside on the farm.
The second claim is the Tshabalala claim. The claimants are claiming beneficial occupation rights as they used the land for more than 10 years (1925-1988) for residential, grazing, ploughing and burial purposes. According to them they received no compensation when evicted. They indicated that they were forced to work on the farm.
The third claim forms part of a larger claim and was lodged by the Mhwaduba of BaKgatla ba Lekhuleni Paramount Chiefdom. They claim the farm as their property and indicate that they were forcefully removed from their land by government officials because they were black people. In the process they lost rights of ownership, habitation, grazing, crop farming, stock farming, burial rights and traditional rites. These forced removals took place between 1958 and 1960/2. They claim to have lived here since the 1800’s and that the Magaliesberg is used for the tribe’s annual initiation ceremonies.
The following is concluded:
• The Sekatana family is only claiming tenure rights. They stayed on the farm since the 1950’s and were employed by the farm owner. They state that they have always enjoyed the right to graze cattle, own goats and chickens and to grow crops. This include the right to reside on the farm.
• The owner is contesting the right to have farmed on the land.
• Both parties agree that the Sekatana family did reside here. The question whether they were allowed to farm is therefore highly contested. It however is important to note that it acknowledges the fact that the farm was owned by someone else (other information above indicates white people). It therefore is clear that the claimants never were the owners of the property and only may have been allowed certain privileges.
• Unfortunately this is a historical report and I am not at liberty, nor has the knowledge to comment on the validity of such a claim.
• The Tshabalala family is claiming only beneficial occupation rights as they used the land for more than 10 years (1925-1988) for residential, grazing, ploughing
and burial purposes. They received no compensation when evicted. They indicated that they were forced to work on the farm.
• It is clear that they also resided on the farm during the time mentioned above. They did however acknowledge the Murray family as being the owners when they resided there. This is in line with information from the Deeds Office. It therefore is clear that the claimants never were the owners of the property and only may have been allowed certain privileges.
• Both families therefore did reside on the property. Fanie Sekatana is still residing on the farm. In both these cases this however do not serve as evidence of ownership.
• Since this is a historical report, I am not at liberty, nor have the knowledge to comment on the validity of tenure or beneficial occupation right being claimed by the Tshabalala family. However, since two different families are claiming the same portion, for the same reasons, it may indicate that one is not valid. It should be indicated that Mr. Sekatana is still residing on the farm.
• The Hmwaduba claim includes the entire Nooitgedacht farm as part of a large land claim. They claim ownership and indicated that they were forcefully removed from their land by government officials because they were black people. In the process they lost rights of ownership, habitation, grazing, crop farming, stock farming, burial rights and traditional rites. These forced removals took place between 1958 and 1960/2. They claim to have lived here since the 1800’s and that the Magaliesberg is used for the tribe’s annual initiation ceremonies.
• The claimants call themselves the Mhwaduba of BaKgatla ba Lekhuleni. Looking at historical information, they can only be the Hwaduba-Ndebele as indicated in the report.
• No records exist of land ownership before 1864 for this farm. It therefore is not possible to determine whether the farm belonged to the tribe. However, it is known that white people moved into this area as early as the 1840’s and owned farms since this time. Due to the lack of capacity within the administration of the old Boer Republic (Transvaal or the ZAR), farms were frequently only officially registered years later.
• One also needs to realize that traditional people would not have demarcated their land by means of a farm with boundaries as we know it, as they were illiterate and rather demarcated areas with boundaries such as rivers and mountains. This claim is therefore vague, but may include the area claimed.
• However they claim to have lived here since the 1800’s. No evidence of traditional Iron Age settlements was identified on the farm. These circular structures would indeed prove the occupation of the area before the coming of white people, but as no such sites were identified they clearly could not have stayed here or owned the land.
• The ethno history of the Hwaduba-Ndebele, however indicate that they never stayed in this area. In fact, the farm Nooitgedacht is never mentioned as one of the farms given to them. It therefore is extremely unlikely that the farm could ever have been owned by them. In fact, the area where they resided lies much further to the north of Nooitgedacht close to the confluence between the Apies and Pienaars Rivers, to the north of Brits.
• It is known that the Hwaduba-Ndebele resided on the farms Witgatboom 62, Goedgewaagd 465 and Haakdoornfontein 77 after 1885.
• This group took over the culture and language of the Kgatla, a Tswana group and explains their name.
• It therefore is clear that the Hwaduba-Ndebele never owned land in the area under investigation. Neither did any other indigenous group.
• Ever since the farm Nooitgedacht was first measured out and owned by title deed, all the owners were white. This continued up to the 1980’s. Therefore there is no evidence of land owners being evicted under the 1913 or 1936 acts.
• The farm Nooitgedacht 333 JR was first owned by Christian Johannes Gerhardus Badenhorst, at least from 1864, but likely since the 1850’s. Although the farm was subdivided many times, the ownership stayed with white people up to at least the 1980’s and includes the Berlin Mission Society. This also goes for portion 13 and any subdivision from it, for which claims for residential rights were lodged. The Murray family owned portion 13, or at least portions thereof up to the 1980’s.
• Graves and other historical structures identified on the farm are dating to the 20th century indicating that these people stayed here together with the white owners. It therefore cannot be used to prove ownership.
• Similarly graves of white people are also present. This proves that graves cannot be used to determine ownership. Furthermore the ‘white’ graves also are older than the ‘black’ ones.
• This simply means that no portion of Nooitgedacht 333 JR were ever owned by a black person or indigenous tribe between 1864 and 1980 and therefore no land can be claimed by such a group.
Dr. A.C. van Vollenhoven (L.AKAD.SA.)