South Coast Fever

Farms (61) given back to Mtwalume claimants

The leader of the Mathulini Traditional Council, Inkosi Bhekizizwe Luthuli said their land was stolen by white farmers in 1930, adding that the people who were living on it had been moved.

After 26 years of trying to reclaim their land, Mathuluni residents in Mtwalume were given 8 000 hectares of their land back.

The Minister of Agriculture and Land Reform, Thoko Didiza, officially declared Mathulini Communal Property Association (CPA) the owners of 61 sugarcane farms at Esibanini Sportsgrounds recently.

The leader of the Mathulini Traditional Council, Inkosi Bhekizizwe Luthuli, said their land was stolen by white farmers in 1930, adding that the people who were living on it had been moved.

Luthuli said this land handover was worth R506m.

He said, in total, the land awarded to the Mathulini CPA amounts to R630m.

“This is inclusive of the land that was awarded in 2012. The crops on the land are mainly sugarcane and macadamia nuts,” he said.

Luthuli said he had applied to have the land back in 1996, saying that it has been challenging.

Also, IFP chief whip in the KZN Legislature, Blessed Gwala, had been calling for an urgent solution to the long-standing Mathulini land debacle.

Gwala had previously said that the IFP found it unfair that the Mathulini CPA lost approximately R11m in legal fees because of the debacle.

Luthuli said although they got back the first portion of their land in 2012, he never thought the day of getting this large portion would be realised while he was still alive.

“It was not easy. We faced challenges that led us to nearly giving up. When I applied to get our land back, I was not chasing white farmers away, but I wanted to work with them,” he said, adding that because the government used a lot of money to buy back the land, he did not want it to turn into white elephants.

He said his biggest dream is to create jobs with the land, saying that they would be happy if they could be like the Royal Bafokeng.

Handing over title deeds, Didiza said this was the first step to giving land back.

The minister advised Mathulini residents to use the land wisely and not to rush to use the profit but invest more in the farm.

“The land officially belongs to you now, and my job as the minister is to give you a title deed,” she said.

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