R35,3 million payout a big boost for Mamaila land claimants

Peter Matlou (Greater Letaba Municipality, Mayor) presents a check to the Chief of Mamaila village, Nancy Mamaila, while Elizeberth Matlou and Sewela Maspa looks on.

LIMPOPO – The Office of the Regional Land Claims Commissioner (RLCC) Limpopo distributed vouchers worth R35,3 million as financial compensation to 118 families of Mamaila Bolobedu Tribe dislodged from their land of birth through dispossession.

The compensation comes as a result of the RLCC having finalised the land claim lodged by Kgosigadi on behalf of the community authorised through a resolution signed by the tribe. Each family received just less than R300 000.

RLCC Limpopo Communication Manager, Avhashoni Magada, said research conducted by the RLCC Office established the Mamaila Bolebedu Tribe was removed from the claimed properties in 1968 after the government enacted the Black Resettlement Act of 1954. He said the tribe was ordered to vacate the land and was relocated to an area which was allocated on the basis of ethnic affiliation .

RLCC officers assist with taking Johanna Mlaba’s fingerprints before she goes to the bank to cash in her compensation voucher.

Magada said the claimed properties are described as farms Verschfontein 233LT (R/E and Portion 1), Elandsfontein 235 LT, and Sterkfontein 203 LT in the Greater Letaba Local Municipality in Limpopo.

“The Commission conducted an options workshop at Mamaila Bolobedu Tribal Hall with the claimants. They indicated that they need alternative compensation because the claimed properties are not feasible to restore,” he explained.

“Wile they lived on the land the Mamaila Bolobedu Tribe had bigger portions of land and sufficient space to farm. They were farming with mangoes, maize, cattle, and goats. During the removal, they had to leave the fruit trees, graves, and houses behind. They began building new houses on the land they were given but the space allocated was small and it was difficult for them to farm on the same scale they did previously,” Magada.

“There is no amount of money that can wipe away the pain suffered when they were forcefully removed from their ancestral land, similarly there is no amount of money that can restore the dignity lost during such dispossessions. The compensation will assist the affected families to find closure,” Magada explained.

Left: Mamaila resident, Freddy Rabapane, signs the document which signifies the claim has been finished and he received the compensation voucher as RLCC officers Jacob Chabangu and Sewela Masipa look on.
Insert: The elderly residents who were removed from their land receive compensation from the RLCC at Mamaila village on Saturday.

One of the beneficiaries, Freddy Rabapane, said the money he received will help to supplement his income as he only received a monthly pension grant of R1 500.

The chief of Mamaila village, Nacy Mamaila, warned her people not to fight over money.

The Mayor of the Greater Letaba Municipality, Peter Matlou, advised the people of Mamaila to save the money and send their children to schools to help bolster the country’s future leaders.

crime@nmgroup.co.za

  AUTHOR
Nyambeni Mandiwana
Journalist

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