The Harteespoort Community Development Initiative has taken the Department of Water and Sanitation to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
The Non-Profit Organisation is accusing the department of discriminating against Black lease applicants at the Harteesport Dam’s shoreline.
“Our organisation has evidence of collusion between White DWS officials who treat White illegal occupiers of state land (prime shoreline land) preferentially. These White people occupy and use this land for free while Black people who have applied for leases are denied the same opportunity while they are denied the same permission to occupy for free like all White illegal occupiers,” the organisation’s Mmeli Mduli told Local Voices.
He says the department is dilly dallying with finalising its internal processes to boot out illegal occupiers of the shoreline.
According to the NPO, the oldest Black lease applicant has now been waiting for a lease for 8 years since lodging his lease application in October 2012. This while a White lease applicant was approved within the same period.
The legal battle between the Water Affairs Department and the Harteespoort Community Development Initiative dates back to 2018.
The NPO says it approached the human rights commission after its complaint with the office of the Public Protector proved futile.