Land deal row over

THE long battle between the Matsafeni community and the Mbombela municipality over land on which the provincial 2010 stadium is being built is over at last.

The land was originally owned by the poor Matsafeni community of farmworkers, but was secretly and illegally sold to the municipality last year for just R1.

Now the municipality has officially bought the land from the Matsafeni Trust for R8,7million, subject to further agreements regarding development rights.

In terms of the deed of sale, 69,7hectares was purchased from the trust on behalf of the municipality by the provincial department of public works.

The land includes the portion on which the stadium is being constructed and portions earmarked for two new schools and the streets and servitudes to provide the precinct with infrastructure.

Mbombela municipality spokesperson Joseph Ngala said the deal was reached after a visit by former deputy president Baleka Mbete.

He said Mbombela still intended to use the stadium and infrastructure as leverage to develop the precinct into an economic node.

"The precinct has certain unique benefits and a specific framework will be developed to realise the full potential of the area," said Ngala.