Clan gets feedback on land

Sicelo Dladla

Sicelo Dladla

The KwaZulu-Natal department of agriculture says progress has been made in addressing the problems of the KwaTembe clan.

Last week certain members of the clan hacked down an 11km fence at the Ndumo Game Reserve in an attempt to grab land reserved for conservation.

They embarked on the action after their concerns were allegedly repeatedly ignored by the department. Police managed to remove the invaders.

Ndumo is about 400km north of Durban on the border with Mozambique. The reserve was at the centre of a land claim that was "settled" in 2000.

But the residents complain that the government has kept fertile land for animals while they starve since the land they live unsuited to agriculture. As a result some of them cross into Mozambique to plough.

On Friday the local chief organised a meeting at which a development committee was elected to represent the community.

"Its main purpose is to find a solution to the problems facing this community," said local headman Gadokwayo Mthembu. "Our area remains impoverished. There is no school, water, roads and other facilities." .

Khulekani Ntshangase, spokesman for agriculture MEC Mtholephi Mthimkhulu, said the department was impressed with the progress made in resolving the conflict.

"It has been difficult to communicate with the community because they did not have someone to represent their interests," Ntshangase said. "We hope the committee will facilitate development."

He said he expected the committee to also deal with issues of development and safety, including cross-border crime.

"There is a lot that this committee has to do to improve the quality of life in the area," he said. "It will also liaise with our multi-departmental committee in addressing the land issue."