Concourt to rule on Mala Mala claim

By Drum Digital
06 February 2013

The Constitutional Court is expected to rule on a land claim against the Mala Mala private game reserve in Limpopo, Beeld reported on Wednesday.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said on Tuesday the court had to decide whether the park's approximately 13,000 hectares should be returned to a local community, or whether the government's offer to the owners of approximately R460 million for the reserve and its improvements was fair.

The R460 million comprises R395 million for the land, at R30,000/ha, and R66 million for the improvements, which includes all buildings in the park.

The claimants are the Mhlanganisweni community. The owners, four companies controlled mainly by Michael Rattray and his family, were not disputing the claim's validity.

However, the community had said it did not want the compensation, but the land back.

The owners said the government's offer of R30,000/ha was unfairly low and that R70,000/ha was the correct market value.

The Land Claims Court earlier found the government would not be able to pay the reserve's owners their asking price. It ruled the claimants should receive monetary compensation rather than have the land returned.

The land claimants appealed to Mogoeng against this order.

Mogoeng on Tuesday ordered all parties to appear in the Constitutional Court to submit oral petitions for the court to make a final ruling on whether the claimants should get the money or the land.

There was no indication of when the court would make its ruling.

-Sapa

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