Rural development and land reform minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has handed back land to a community in North West province dispossessed of it years ago.
The governing African National Congress plans to amend South Africa’s Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation, as it seeks to return some of the land forcibly taken from local communities by white settler centuries ago.
The return of the land will see the launch of the Bahurutshe Nietverdeint Game Farming project in the Nietverdeint area of Ramotshere Moiloa local municipality.
“I am elated to hand over this land to the Bahurutshe community. This dispossession was very painful but today we are here celebrating the return of the land,” Nkoana-Mashabana said.
“What makes me happy is that the community has already formed partnership with the previous land owner and are working together to train the community. This lodge has a potential to be a tourist destination for domestic and international guests.”
The game reserve holds wild animals such as waterbuck, blue wildebeest, gemsbuck, eland, zebra, giraffe, kudu and impala among many others and about 167 mixed breed cattle.
Before being forced to become farm workers and labour tenants after their land was allocated to white farmers, the Bahurutshe lived between the Ngotoane, Madikwe and Crocodile rivers in what is now the North West province.
The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights purchased the land on behalf of the Bahurutshe for more than R455 million, benefitting 1,878 households.