Durban - President Cyril Ramaphosa has told community members in KwaMkhwanazi in KwaZulu-Natal that their successful land claim is the first in a pilot programme as government addresses “the land issue” with renewed vigour.
“Right now, government is fully empowered to deal with the land question and now we are moving forward with speed,” he said at the University of Zululand’s KwaDlangezwa campus where he officially handed over 4 586 hectares of land and title deeds to the community on Sunday.
“As we do this we admit that over a number of years we have been rather slow and tardy and the process has been slowed down by a number of reasons. What we did today [Sunday] should have been done a number of years ago, but as they say, better late than never,” he said.
The KwaMkhwanazi community was forcibly removed from their land following the enactment of the 1913 Land Act to make way for returning World War I soldiers. During the 1940s the community was again moved to make way for commercial timber and sugarcane farms.
The land claim was lodged in 1997 and the Phalane Community Trust was established by the claimant community in 2005 to manage the land. Some of the land had previously been owned by the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries department, while a portion was used for student residence blocks for the university.