Milestone land claims settlement signed in KZN

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Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Candith Mashego-Dlamini said the settlement forms part of the settlement of land claims lodged by the Mkhuzane community in respect of land in the Richmond area and the Nodunga community. Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Candith Mashego-Dlamini said the settlement forms part of the settlement of land claims lodged by the Mkhuzane community in respect of land in the Richmond area and the Nodunga community.

A significant milestone has been reached in the settlement of the land claims lodged by the Mkhuzane and the Nodunga communities on properties previously owned by Mondi (Pty) Ltd.

Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Candith Mashego-Dlamini, MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development Cyril Xaba, representatives from Mondi, the Forest Sector Charter Council, and members of the Nodunga and Mkhuzane communities on Thursday witnessed the signing of the settlement agreement in Pietermaritzburg.

“Working together with Mondi, we have come up with a model to settle claims on forestry land, which involves the transfer of land ownership to the claimants with Mondi leasing the land for two rotations, subject to renewal thereafter.

“The affected communities receive rental upfront annually to use for their own further development,” said the Deputy Minister.

As part of the agreement, Mondi assists the beneficiary communities to set up forestry contracting businesses and provide bursaries to the youth from these communities.

Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini said the settlement forms part of the settlement of land claims lodged by the Mkhuzane community in respect of land in the Richmond area (UMgungudlovu District Municipality) and the Nodunga community in respect of land in the Stanger area (Illembe- District Municipality).

The state has purchased 1781.3950 hectares of land at a cost of R26.9 million for the Mkhuzane community and 685.5305 hectares at a cost of R7.4 million for the Nodunga community as part of the settlement of the two claims.

The agreements include the signing of lease agreements between Mondi and each one of the two communities, for the purpose of commercial forestry, which will run for an initial period of 10 years subject to further renewal thereafter.

“As part of the initial lease agreement, Mondi (Pty) Ltd will assist each of the two communities to set up forestry contracting businesses, thus enabling them to acquire the necessary skills to benefit from business opportunities on the land.

“During the first year of lease, a rental fee of 7% of R1.6 million will be paid to the Mkhuzane community, and for the Nodunga community the amount will be R507 000.

“A total of 247 households including 880 beneficiaries from the Mkhuzane community, and 376 households including 2256 beneficiaries from the Nodunga community, will benefit from the agreements signed with Mondi,” she said.

The department and Mondi will draw up terms of reference for capacity building of the community.

Also, service providers will be identified to provide training and capacity building for the communities, in order to be able to manage the lease, resolve disputes and manage the land.

The Deputy Minister added that the department will work together with the community to come up with a business plan which will detail projects in line with the development aspirations of the communities and identified opportunities.

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Candith Mashego-Dlamini  |  Cyril Xaba  |  Mondi (Pty) Ltd  |  UMgungudlovu District Municipality  |  Illembe- District Municipality