The IFP, as the Official Opposition in the KZN Legislature, calls for an urgent solution to the long standing Mathulini land debacle in Mthwalume in Ugu District.
We find it unfair that the Mathulini Community has to date lost approximately R11 million in legal fees. This is due to dubious court cases, for which the Mathulini Community had to use its own money, resulting in a situation where beneficiaries did not get their dividends.
Who is is going to compensate these poor people, and how much in state resources have been used by the government to steal the land that belongs to the Mathulini Community?
In a nutshell, this case involves a settlement agreement that was signed by Inkosi Bhekizizwe Nivard Luthuli – representing the Mathulini Community – on 17 December 2010. For many people, it remains strange that the Regional Commission of Land Reform, formerly known as Land Affairs and the Department of Rural Development, were instrumental in the establishment of the Communal Property Association (CPA).
Thus, the process of the CPA registration began in February 2012, after the Department of Rural Development – specifically the Director-General – advised the Chief Land Claims Commissioner that the ideal land holding entity that preferred in the matter was the CPA. People were told that this was to ensure that in the event of conflicts amongst the communities, the Department would be able to intervene.
According to the KZN Legislature’s Ad Hoc Committee on Land Restitution Complaints and Other Related Matters Report, in 2016/17 this matter was also referred to the Minister’s Office, yet there is still no resolution on the matter. One of the reasons for this is the fact that there has been major interference with the workings and functionality of the CPA by Land Affairs, and the stalling of the finalisation of phase 2 and 3 of the settlement agreement. Land Affairs has gone as far as removing legally appointed committee members of the CPA and replacing them with their own members of the so-called “Concerned Group”.
To push their agenda, they have instituted legal proceedings against the Mathulini Community, and they have lost each and every case. This includes the 16 cases that have been won by the Mathulini Community.
In 2012, the Mathulini land was worth R280 million but after the subsequent delays of almost ten years, the state is going to spend about R472 million on phase two and three alone. This means that in this period, the land value has doubled. Should the state have concluded this in time, instead of making dubious claims, it would have spent only R280 million.
And, when I calculate phase one, two and three now, the total costs would be over R500 million. That means R220 million of state money has been wasted by Land Affairs and the Concerned Group, excluding all their legal fees.
The IFP calls upon the Minister of DALRRD, Thoko Didiza, and the Land Claims Commission to come clean and provide a clear timeframe for when this matter will be resolved.
Mr Blessed Gwala, MPL
IFP Chief Whip in the KZN Legislature,
078 290 5842