Communities of Mnqobokazi and Makhasa near Sodwana Bay northern KwaZulu-Natal have been given title deeds to land worth R68 million as settlement of land claims.
The Makhasa community received 2 800 hectares worth R44 million and The Mnqobokazi community received R2400 hectares worth R24 million. The recently settled claims were lodged in 1995 and include iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which is a world heritage site.
The department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development also made these communities the first recipients of government land.
Mnqobokazi Trust Chairperson Jabulani Nxumalo says they are receiving R3. 6 million annually from leasing land to a private game reserve.
Nxumalo says, “After the settlement, we negotiated with Phinda the company which runs a reserve on the land, they offered us up to 49% but we said no we can’t take that risk because if this business makes a loss, we will lose everything so we decided to lease land to them and pay us rental fee.”
Meanwhile, Chairperson of Makhasa Trust Thokozani Mlambo says they will be offering young people bursaries.
Handing over the title deeds, Land Reform Minister Thoko Didiza urged the communities to use the land wisely.
Didiza says, “The President made a decision in his State of the Nation Address that, the state too will rapidly release land that it is holding in its portfolio to communities, particularly those who require that land for restitution and for agricultural development. This is one of the first land deliveries after that announcement by the President, because the land that was held by the state we are now giving title deeds to these two communities.”
Didiza also highlighted that the land under protected areas will not be occupied by the communities. She urged communities to use the land to make profit.
Both communities plan to build game lodges on the land they received.
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