Ashburton: families win first round in battle for land

2011-10-05 00:00

LAND claimants in the Mpushini valley in the Ashburton area, who claimed that they were swindled of their land by a local tribal chief, Inkosi Simphiwe Majozi, have won the first round in their bid to reclaim the ownership of that land.

The four families, the ­Mchunus, Mlambos, Mthembus and Mncubes, claimed they were the legal owners of the vast vacant land in the Mpushini valley, which comprises several farms.

They claimed the land was illegally given to Majozi, who started to profit from it by selling plots.

The four families, assisted by the Association for Rural Development (Afra), were granted a final interdict by the court last week preventing Majozi from selling any plots.

The interdict was granted without any opposition from Majozi, who had previously said that he alone had staked a claim on the land.

He claimed it had been legally handed to him by the Rural Development and Land Reform Department.

He said he had a right to sell plots.

Thabiso Mbhense of Afra’s land rights legal unit said the interdict was the first step in restoring the land back to its rightful owners.

“The court has granted the order, which is permanent. that Majozi cannot sell any land in that area anymore.

“He [Majozi] did not even oppose the application in court because he knew that he did not have any grounds.”

Mbense said Afra is preparing for a second encounter to reverse the department’s decision to award Majozi the land.

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