Ricochet News

Land returned to Double Drift community

By Afikile Lugunya - Mar 8, 2018
Land returned to Double Drift community

Land that was taken from the communities of Double Drift in the Amathole District on the Eastern Cape was on Wednesday returned to its owners.

The land, measuring around 1 276 hectares, was previously taken away under the 1913 Land Act to make way for a game reserve.

It is actually a portion of a larger land claim measuring 23 000 hectares that are being returned to its rightful owners.

The community had a choice of having the land back or getting monetary compensation – they chose the land, which comes with the game reserve.

Through the national departments of Environmental Affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform, Water and Sanitation, as well as the Eastern Cape Provincial Government, the Double Drift communities will receive skills in how to look after the game reserve and its animals.

The area is also rich in aloe plants, which it is hoped they will be able to harvest and turn into medicinal products as a means of job creation.

“We are laughing, we are crying, we are ululating, we are praying because this is victory; this is a celebration,” Fundisile Mkhetheni, speaking for the community, described the mood of the community at an event held to hand over title deeds to the land.

He added that he remembered the time they were forced to leave because of animals like it was yesterday.

While addressing the community, Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masuale, emphasised that the land belongs to the community of Double Drift, therefore they must use it wisely and to benefit the nation.

“We are really happy, as government, that this day finally came because it brings dreams to reality and I don’t want to dwell on the hardships that brought us here, but I do want to say there is a bright future ahead of us,” Masualle added.



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