Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma will on Thursday hand over 13 184 hectares of land including the prestigious Mala Mala game reserve in the Mpumalanga province to the N’wandlamhlarhi Community Property Association.
“The claimed land falls within the Bushbuckridge Municipality under the Ehlanzeni District, one of the prioritized districts by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform due to high levels of poverty,” said the Presidency in a statement on Wednesday.
The Mala Mala claim has been controversial due to the high price paid by government for the land claim, with government paying R71,250 per hectare, amounting to a total of R939,360,000 for the 13 184 hectares.
“The total land value appears to be exorbitant, however it should be noted that this is prime game land that were attested to by expert witnesses in Court,” said Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mr Gugile Nkwinti.
“This process which forms part of government’s efforts to accelerate land reform programmes will benefit 960 households,” said Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj.
According to a report in the City Press the claim includes about 15 000 people who live around Mala Mala and the Kruger National Park, and lived on the land in previous centuries.
In a press conference in November last year Nkwinti told journalists that a transitional agreement had been reached in which the current Mala Mala operating company will continue to manage the business, while a partnership is negotiated.
The Mala Mala settlement framework restores a total of 5 farms, consisting of 9 portions, that is 2 portions of farm Mala Mala No. 359 KU, 2 portions of farm Eyrefield No 343 KU, 2 portions of farm Flockfield No 414 KU, 2 portions of farm Charleston No 378 KU and 1 portion of farm Toulon No 383 KU having a total extent of 13,184.1601 hectares.
“The restitution will restore the land rights lost to the Mala Mala community and will further assist with the creation of jobs, opportunity for further education as well as general development of the area,” said Maharaj.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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