The pace of land restitution is picking up, with the recent signing by Mondi Group joint Chairman, Cyril Ramaphosa, of a second set of land claims to the value of R38.7m, with the Minister of Land Affairs, Lulama Xingwana.
The beneficiaries are seven communities in the Vryheid district who will receive the titles to a total of 13 700 hectares of forestry land formerly owned by Mondi. Mondi has signed a 20-year lease agreement with the communities to enable them (Mondi) to continue to operate the plantations and secure the fibre for their mills, while the communities will benefit from an annual rental and stumpage income. In addition the communities will be assisted to get involved in providing forestry services to the business, and will be empowered to ultimately take over the management of the land and forestry operations.The agreements with the Vryheid communities is similar to the model used for the Kranskop land claims in terms of which 4000 hectares of Mondi land was transferred to the AmaHlongwa and AmaBomvu communities in October 2008.
Over the first 10 year period of the lease, Mondi’s Forestry Partners Program (FPP), headed up by Jim Matsho, will work closely with the communities to integrate them into Mondi’s supply chain and transfer the skills required for them to ultimately run the forestry business themselves. Over the second 10 year period communities will have the opportunity to take more direct control of the forestry land and the tree farming process.
Jim Matsho explained: “The programme has a menu of support available to new farmers. This includes business planning, environmental and fire support and access to seedlings. In each case Mondi will work with communities to match the required support to their needs and aspirations.”
The lease agreements were signed between Mondi and the seven community trusts: Nhlangwini Community Trust, KwaZiqongwana Community Trust, Esikhabeni Community Trust, Isihululu-Egazini Community Trust, Fakazi Community Trust, Langa Community Trust and Ogwini Community Trust.
Published in March/April 2009