The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform is set to compensate six communities and Kruger National Park claimants who has qualified for land restitution at the park.
History will be made today at the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga as hundreds of people from six communities in Mpumalanga and Limpopo will gather to benefit from an amount of R84 million as compensation for their land used for the park.
Not less than 318 000 hectares of land was taken from hundreds of communities for the Kruger National Park by the government in 1913.
In 1998, a total of 17 claims were lodged against the park by locals that were affected.
In response to the people’s complaints over their land, the Commission of Restitution of Land Rights says any land used for the Kruger National Park will not be returned to the previous owner, however, those affected will be financially compensated by the government today.
The Director of the Commission, Tele Maphoto says this is because the park is a national asset.
Director Maphoto specified that only people who were removed from the land after 1930 were allowed to make any claim. Adding that some people were moved during the time of the expansion of the park.
Unfortunately, the Kruger National Park claimants who were removed from their land before 1930 will not qualify to receive any compensation from the government.
According to Maphoto, this is the first set of people to have their claims settled at the Kruger National Park with today representing a symbolic gesture of the settlements.
“This will be the first batch of claims to be settled in the Kruger Park. It’s a ceremony and a symbolic gesture.”
For the settlement, each family will receive R110,000.
“The amount for compensation totals to about R84 million for the communities combined, but we can give individual amounts to the communities,” Maphoto added.