Forestry in South Africa
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August : Eight more land claims settled!

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20 August, 2012

Eight more land claims settled!

After a long period of planning and negotiation between Mondi, the Land Claims Commission, and claimant communities in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, another eight land restitution settlement agreements have been reached in June 2012 involving Mondi forestry land. This brings the number of land settlement deals that Mondi has signed with claimant communities to 19, involving about 35 000 hectares of forestry land.

The latest settlements have been reached with the Msibi community from Piet Retief, the Ngcolosi and Mthembu-Sithole communities from Kranskop, the Kewulane and Bathenjini communities from Vryheid and AmaHobe, Madlala and Ngubane communities from the Howick area.

The latest settlements involve 17 150 hectares of Mondi land under forestry, which will be transferred to the eight land claimant communities.

Key aspects of the agreements include:

  • The land will be owned by the community beneficiaries through their registered trusts.
  • The land will be leased back to Mondi and will continue to produce timber for use by Mondi's mills.
  • The lease agreements, structured over a 20-year period, provide for community income from annual rental and a stumpage fee based on production output.
  • The agreements ensure progressive involvement of communities in the forestry business.
  • Mondi will provide two bursaries for study towards forestry related qualifications with each settlement agreement.
  • With Mondi's assistance the community trusts will set up community owned businesses. Selected beneficiaries will be employed and developed to take up more significant opportunities in the forestry value chain. Development, mentoring and coaching support will be structured for these businesses as part of the agreement.

Mondi will be the strategic partner managing the training, coaching and mentoring of the communities. These support processes will be funded through the Recapitalisation and Development funds of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform with Mondi also contributing technical and administration skills.

Access to start-up capital for the community companies to purchase vehicles and equipment will be facilitated through planning and development grants provided by the Land Claims Commission. Mondi Zimele, Mondi's business development arm, will be on standby to provide loan capital where necessary.

The FP & M Seta will be approached to provide funds for training of trustees, community company directors and employees.

The settlement agreement with the Ngcolosi community in Kranskop is different from the other agreements in that both the land and trees will be bought and transferred to the community for ownership. In this case the sale is underpinned by a 20-year timber supply agreement in favour of Mondi.

Lebjane Maphutha signed the agreements on behalf of the Regional Land Claims Commission, while Maurice Makhathini signed on behalf of Mondi. The chairpersons of the eight community trusts signed the agreements on behalf of the communities.

"We are very pleased that a settlement has been reached with these communities on terms which achieve empowerment of new owners and ensures a continued fibre supply for our business," said Maurice Makhathini, Mondi's Head of Land.

Speaking on behalf of the eight communities, Jan Msibi said: "At long last our forefather's land is back in our hands. We would like to thank Mondi and government and wish to assure all involved that we will work with Mondi and government towards our empowerment so that even beyond the lease period the land shall forever be as productive as it is today for the benefit of our generations to come."

Lebjane Maphutha said: "We are pleased about these deals and satisfied that the communities will benefit. It is deals of this nature that will take the process of land restitution forward and ensure sustainability of production on the land. Mondi has proved to be a partner of choice in these land deals."


Another historic land claims settlement: Members of the Mthembu-Sithole, Ngcolosi and AmaHobe communities, together with Mondi's land team Maurice Makhathini and Khethiwe Mlotshwa, Regional Land Claims Commissioner Lebjane Maphutha and KZN Chief Director Bheki Mbili at the historic land claims settlement signing held at Mondi Boscombe office, near Kranskop.