CLAIM SETTLEMENT IN PONDOLAND, E CAPE IS RACING AHEAD

AFTER ALMOST A DECADE OF INACTION, land claims in the wretchedly poor Pondoland region of the Eastern Cape are being settled at a rapid pace.

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The Wild Coast is set for a
rash of land claim settlements.
PHOTO: STEPHAN HOFSTÄTTER
 

AFTER ALMOST A DECADE OF INACTION, land claims in the wretchedly poor Pondoland region of the Eastern Cape are being settled at a rapid pace.
This month government expects to hand over the Majola Tea Estate, the Pondoland sugar estates and a commonage in Bizana to hundreds of claimant families, said chief land claims commissioner Tozi Gwanya. Last month the commission handed over 12 000ha to claimants near Lusikisiki, including the Magwa Tea Estate.
Many of Pondoland’s claimants were forcibly removed during the Transkei’s so-called betterment programme, which involved setting aside different portions of land for grazing, settlement and crop cultivation. The army was called in to coerce those who refused to be resettled.
Claims on thousands of hectares in Pondoland have been blamed for economic stagnation and preventing investment in the remote region, which is of major political importance to the ANC government. The region boasts the birthplace of ANC stalwart Oliver Tambo, and president Thabo Mbeki’s father Govan Mbeki wrote an influential book on an uprising in 1960 against the imposition of tribal authorities in Pondoland.
Gwanya said the sudden rash of ¬settlements in the district was a reflection of the commission’s new drive to speed up land reform. – Stephan Hofstätter