Farmer moves out as claim is settled at last

2011-01-05 00:00

PRESSURE exerted on the Land Claims Commission by the Gujini land claimants in Muden near Greytown has finally paid off.

Their claim, which was allegedly filed in 1995, was finalised in December last year and the land ceded back to the community.

Sources close to the matter said the government has paid an estimated R18 million to land owner Peter Channing to finalise the claim.

The delay had led to increased tension between Channing and the land claimants, who include the Gujini and Ncunjana communities.

Late last year two security guards on Channing’s farm were killed and it was suggested that community members had committed the murders out of anger after Channing had impounded their cattle.

National Land Claims Commissioner Sibusiso Gamede visited the area in October last year and assured the community he would move quickly to settle the claim as tensions between the farmer and the community members had reached boiling point.

Channing moved out of the area on December 1.

A community member told The Witness yesterday that Channing was not given the mandatory three months to vacate the area due to the pressing nature of the claim.

“I heard that Channing was so rushed that although he had two giraffes on the farm, he was not able to move both of them and allegedly had to put the other one down …”

Elijah Mchunu, a prince from the area, said the community is preparing to implement a land use business plan drawn up by the Land Affairs Department.

It has been proposed that the community engages in commercial farming and continues game farming. Attempts to contact Channing were unsuccessful.

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