Answer to a question from a reader

How can I claim financial compensation from the Ebenhaeser land claim if I don't live there anymore?

The short answer

You can contact the Ebenhaeser outsider descendents project manager for assistance.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

Can I put in a claim for financial compensation following a land claim? I was born in Ebenhaeser but do not live there now. I heard that you need a claim number an ODI number and I don’t know how to get one.

The long answer

To outline the history of this land claim: The community in Ebenhaeser lost their land in 1925 through the Ebenezer Exchange of Land Act and were forced to move to a much smaller and less fertile piece of land north of Olifantsdrift, known as the new Ebenhaeser, while white farmers were settled on the good land where they grew vines. After 1994, the first law passed by the government of Nelson Mandela was the Restitution of Land Rights Act, which was amended in 1997 to include the payment of compensation as well as the restoring of land to its former owners. 

Although the Ebenhaeser community lodged a land claim as early as 1996, it was a long hard struggle to reclaim their fertile lands – which only succeeded in 2020. This was during the Covid lockdown period, through a lengthy stop-start process of mediation between the community and some of the white farmers who didn’t want to sell their fertile land (some 1,560 hectares of vineyards) to the government.

But in the end, they reached agreement and the agreement was made an Order of Court by the Land Claims Court.

John Yeld, in a 2020 article for GroundUp, explains that the Ebenhaeser Communal Property Association (ECPA) was formed in 2014 to represent all the 1,720 land claimants and hold all the title deeds for them. Next was the Ebenhaeser Development Trust in 2015 which had a broader responsibility to act on behalf of the community and its development, and finally the company called Ebenhaeser Agri (Pty) Ltd in 2020, to head up the community’s commercial farming operations. 

As part of the settlement, the government paid an amount of R24 million to be used as financial compensation to descendants of the Ebenhaeser community who are not members of the ECPA and who live outside the village. I mention these three organisations because it is likely that you will have to deal with either the ECPA or the Ebenhaeser Development Trust to lodge a financial claim as a descendant born in Ebenhaeser.

Unfortunately, I could find no contact details for the ECPA at all, though its chairperson is Madelien van Niekerk. You may know someone who would know how to contact her. Similarly with the Development Trust – no details given anywhere. 

Equally, there are no explanations on any of the government sites on what an ODI number might be in terms of a land claim. The only information I could find was the July 2023 tender advertised by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development for a service provider to verify the descendants of Ebenhaeser living outside Ebenhaeser. 

Below are the contact details of the Ebenhaeser outsider descendants project manager, Benjamin Mars:

Phone: (021) 409 0476


Perhaps you could contact Benjamin Mars and he could assist you in lodging your claim, or at least tell you how to contact the service provider doing the verification.

Below are the Dept of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development’s contact details for queries regarding land claims:                 

Phone: (012) 312 8911


Wishing you the best,

Answered on Jan. 22, 2024, 11:09 a.m.

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