land restitution

Mayibuye Game Reserve / Facebook

Land restitution: Local KZN community given control of Game Reserve

These are the types of projects that could really transform the South African economy.

land restitution

Mayibuye Game Reserve / Facebook

The Department of Environmental Affairs has awarded the majority stake of Mayibuye Game Reserve to a local group of land restitution claimants.

As reported by SAPromo, The kwaXimba community – based in the Umkhambathini Local Municipality of KZN – had successfully been awarded 4,800 hectares of land in the province, and will be responsible for the upkeep of the reserve.

Land restitution success story

The department’s Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) is looking to tap into the wildlife “value chain” as a way to alleviate communities from poverty and provide jobs in bulk.

Barbara Thompson is the Deputy Minister for Environmental Affairs. She explained how these types of projects will go towards long-term, sustainable job production:

“Support programmes such as infrastructural development (game fence, ecotourism facilities etc), game donation/loaning, skills development and training, access to markets and funding will be facilitated to ensure sustainable businesses.”

“It is believed that the domestic hunting market was approximately R6.4 billion (€430 million), while the international hunting market was approximately R1.4 billion (€95 million) in 2013. In addition to hunting, game farmers can generate income from the sale of game meat, wildlife products and live game.”

How will Mayibuye help the community?

The project has already created 76 jobs and provided field training for 15 new park rangers. Thompson also added that R100 million is being invested in Mayibuye from the private sector, in an attempt to develop an “eco-estate”.

This successful land restitution story hasn’t kept everyone happy, however. A counter-claimant group aren’t best pleased that they were kept out of discussions regarding what should happen with the land.

Speaking on behalf of the disgruntled community members, Msa Ngubane said they were also part of the Mayibuye Community Trust, yet they knew nothing about the project.

The official launch of the reserve last week was disrupted by a group of 10 people. They wanted to speak directly with Barbara Thompson, who eventually agreed to meet with protesters in the near future.