Minister: Tighten grip on invaders

2008-06-30 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal government has called on police to tighten their grip on a group of people who invaded Ndumo Game Reserve at the KZN and Mozambique border yesterday morning.

The invaders are believed to be members of KwaTembe tribal authority, who are complaining about a lack of development in their area.

It is alleged that they went to the game farm threatening to plough in it.

It is understood that the standoff between the government and game invaders has been going on for some years, with no solution in sight.

Reacting to the invasion, KwaZulu-Natal Agriculture and Environmental Affairs Minister Mtholephi Mthimkhulu called on the police to act against the invaders, whom he described as criminals. “We will do everything in our power to speed up the resolution of this challenge.

“Our solution will take into account interests of both conservation and the livelihood of our people. The lasting solution must balance these interests for the benefit of all,” said Mthimkhulu.

The Ndumo Game Reserve was the centre of a land claim by the Ntembe community members, who said that they were removed to clear a space for the game by the previous government.

The claim was settled in 2000, in which an agreement was reached that claimants would be business partners in the game farm and would not use the property for residential or farming purposes. But invaders have allegedly claimed that since then, they have not benefited from the agreement.

Agriculture and Environmental Affairs spokesman Khulekani Ntshangase confirmed that there has not been any developmental progress. “I think it’s a question of a lack of development that causes the invasion. Like many rural areas, that area has no development,” he said, adding that he condemns the invasion.

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