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Return of land

By unknown | Jun 12, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sne Masuku

Mdlodleni Ntombela was only three when his family and the rest of his community were removed from their ancestral land in Hluhluwe.

Until the weekend, the area was a game reserve generating income for its white owners only.

But finally, Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Lulama Xingwana officially handed back the land to the Mpukumyoni and Hlabisa communities during an emotional ceremony at the weekend.

Xingwana said the 24000ha held potential for eco-tourism development.

Xingwana said R60million had been allocated to help the communities.

Of this amount, R52million will be used to develop the area.

The people of the communities are expected to submit business plans to Ithala Bank to access the money.

All his life, Ntombela had heard stories of how the Mpukumyoni and Hlabisa communities were fooled into believing their removal from the land was temporary.

They were told to vacate the land because the then government said it wanted to rid the area of tsetse flies and buffalo ticks.

The people vacated the area with the understanding that it was a temporary measure.

They would return after three years when the situation returned to normal.

However, the three years passed and they were never asked to return to their land. Instead the area was fenced off and converted into a game reserve.


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