A lease agreement was signed between Mondi (Pty) Ltd and the community of Nodunga and Mkhuzane by the Deputy Minister of Rural Development Mrs Kwita Candith Mashego-Dlamini accompanied by KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Cyril Xaba in Pietemaritzburg. These settlement agreements form part of land claims lodged by the Mkhuzane community in respect of land in the Richmond area and the Nodunga community in respect of land in the Stanger area.
The land claimed by these communities was owned by Mondi (Pty) Ltd and is currently being used for commercial forestry. The lease agreements will run for an initial period of 10 years subject to further renewal thereafter.
Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini said that this is exactly what Government was hoping for when the land restitution programme was introduced in 1994 as this is in line with our proclamation in the Freedom Charter, that South Africa belongs to all who live in it and that all South Africa’s children must benefit from the resources of the land.
A total of 247 households including 880 beneficiaries from the Mkhuzane community and 376 households including 2 256 beneficiaries from Nodunga community will benefit from the settlement agreement with Mondi (Pty) Ltd. MEC Xaba said that this is a great opportunity for the people of Nodunga and Mkhuzane to benefit from the land of their forefathers and the KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will witness the success at this momentous occasion.
He further said that one of the key pillars of the new Departmental strategy of Agrarian Reform and Transformation is the recapitalisation and post-settlement support for land reform farms. A total of 35 000 ha of land previously owned by the Mondi (Pty) Ltd has so far been restored to beneficiaries through the land restitution programme.