Families challenge Inkosi in Mpushini land row

2011-08-25 00:00

A TRADITIONAL leader and land claimants are embroiled in a bitter dispute over the use and ownership of a vast tract of vacant land in the the Mpushini valley area.

Tensions between inkosi Siphiwe Majozi of the Amaqamu clan and four families — the Mchunus, Mlambos, Mthembus and Mncubes — are threatening to boil over as families allege that Majozi is illegally occupying and profiting from their land.

The land in contention is Broadview farm, which forms part of the land awarded to Majozi last year under the land restitution programme.

Last week the four families obtained a court interdict to stop Majozi from selling plots in that area. They are also to apply for a review of the Land Claims Commission’s decision to award the land to Majozi.

Thulani Mlambo, speaking for the four families, said they had to take legal action because “in March this year Majozi started selling plots in that area. That was when we learned that he had been awarded the land…”

He said Majozi could not lay claim to the land because he is not from that area.

“His families came here as refugees fleeing from violence in the Msinga area; there is no Amaqamu tribe in this area.”

Majozi said he considered the allegations that he is an illegitimate chief disparaging and is likely to sue.

“My family and kingdom have been here since the 1800s, and this is destroying my good name. I applied for the land on behalf of my clan. Those who are now claiming they are the owners of the land never applied to the commission or attended any meetings; they are just showing up now to claim the land.”

He acknowledged selling plots in the area, saying that as an inkosi he cannot live in the vast area alone, and the buyers needed the plots.

Thabiso Mbense of the land rights legal unit of Association for Rural Advancement, which is helping the four families, said the ownership could be challenged in court. “The department processed only Majozi’s claim and totally disregarded all the other claims. It could be that they lost or misplaced the files containing the details of the other claims, which happens.”

Attempts to get comment from the Land Claims Commission were unsuccessful.

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