The government has paid R1.1 billion for 13?184 hectares of land to settle the controversial MalaMala land claim in Mpumalanga, making it the most expensive land claim in the history of South Africa. The claim includes about 15 000 people who live around the MalaMala area and Kruger National Park, who lived on the land in previous centuries. At a press conference on Friday, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said a “transitional agreement” had been reached – the current MalaMala operating company will continue to manage the business for now while negotiating the business partnership. Negotiations on a final deal start immediately and Nkwinti said it was critical the partnership should work. “The game reserve holds part of our heritage?...?The key issue in settling this claim is about social investment and we believe we have made the right decision,” he said. Mhlanganisweni community lawyer Louise du Plessis said the hard work starts now, while community communal property association chairperson Perry Sambo was delighted. “Our members stand to benefit from job opportunities,” he said.