Government settles Kruger Park land claims

21 May 2016 - 17:23 By TMG Digital

The government has compensated six communities – three from Limpopo and another three from Mpumalanga – for land in the Kruger National Park from which they were dispossessed under apartheid.Speaking at a ceremony on Saturday in Ehlanzeni‚ Mpumalanga‚ to mark the occasion‚ President Jacob Zuma said although the Kruger National Park was considered a conservation flagship‚ its treasure also constituted a collective memory‚ culture and tradition of those who were dispossessed of this land.“The claims which we are settling today form part of the various land claims lodged by different communities from the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces in respect of the Park.“These were all lodged before the first window of opportunity for the lodgement of claims‚ prior to the 1998 cut-off date‚” Zuma stated.“In settling these claims‚ we are giving effect to a Cabinet decision taken in 2008 regarding equitable redress as the only option for settling all land claims on the Kruger National Park‚” he added.He said the Cabinet decision had taken into consideration the status of the Kruger National Park as a national and international asset‚ which needed to be conserved for the benefit of the whole nation.“The decision paved a way for engagement with the affected communities‚ culminating in the resolution to settle the claims in two Phases.“Phase 1 involved the awarding of financial compensation‚ while Phase 2 will involve a Beneficiation Scheme aimed at stimulating much needed economic activities within the affected municipal areas where the claimant communities reside.“Today we are awarding a total amount of 84 million rand to six communities as part of Phase 1 of the settlement of their claims on the Kruger National Park‚ in respect of land measuring in total extent of 318‚000 hectares.”Zuma said the settlement model had taken into account the significance of the Kruger National Park as a home to an unparalleled diversity of wildlife and embraced an effort to save this National Monument for generations to come.It had therefore been agreed that the settlement model would be one that took the very important role of conservation into account.“In our first phase‚ financial compensation is viable because Kruger National Park claimants are not able to return to their land. Government is thus compensating them in lieu of the improvements that they lost on the land‚ as guided by our policy...

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