Strategic land redistribution brings jubilation to Eastern Cape community

“The implementation of the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy, which includes wildlife and bio-prospecting value chain activities, is but one mechanism for advancing beneficiation of communities adjacent to protected areas,” said Minister Molewa.
By Milicent Chanetsa
The impoverished Nofingxana community in South Africa’s vast Eastern Cape’s province could soon be smiling all the way to the bank after the government launched the Double Drift Wildlife Economy project this week on land acquired in the ongoing land redistribution project.
South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa told delegates at the launch that the government was yearning to raise a breed of entrepreneurs in the flourishing biodiversity economy, particularly from the previously disadvantaged communities – who bore the brunt of years of apartheid’s exclusionary rule.
“The implementation of the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy, which includes wildlife and bio-prospecting value chain activities, is but one mechanism for advancing beneficiation of communities adjacent to protected areas,” said Molewa.
She said such a strategy was conducive even in marginal lands that were not agriculturally productive, but that were able to advance ecotourism, hunting, expansion of conservation estate, and other related support activities.
“The contribution of the biodiversity economy in poverty alleviation and enhancement of rural livelihoods can therefore not be undermined.”

Minister Molewa was joined by the local chieftainship and community leaders, including Premier of the Eastern Cape province Phumulo Masualle, provincial MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Sakhumzi Somyo, mayors, national and provincial conservation, parks and tourism leaders, as well as the leadership of the Likhaya Lethu Community Property Association (CPA) to witness the release of red hartebeest and zebra onto the Double Drift property.

Biodiversity

The event on this week coincided with the handing over of title deeds to the community members, of the 1 400 hectare farm Naudeshoek, which has been bought for them as part of the settlement by the South African government through its department of rural development and land reform.
The Likhaya Lethu CPA consists of 1 500 Double Drift Community members, has been funded with R6 million by the department of environmental affairs to develop a wildlife economy business venture to curb unemployment and poverty.
Molewa launches the wildlife project ahead of a three-day third Biodiversity Economy Indaba to be held at the International Convention Centre in East London, in the Eastern Cape – from Thursday to Friday.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress resolved at its 54th national conference held at Nasrec, Johannesburg last year to expropriate land without compensation – a scenario which many economists believe could scare away investors and unleash chaos similar to neighbouring Zimbabwe’s land reform programme.
Millions of Zimbabweans are believed to have relocated to neighbouring countries particularly South Africa, Botswana and Namibia following the land reform implemented by deposed former leader Robert Mugabe.
At the peak of the land seizures from the white farmers, Zimbabwe’s economy declined exponentially, with real GDP plummeting 45 percent in the decade leading up to 2009.
According to statistics from the country’s Commercial Farmers’ Union, wheat production declined from around 270 000 tons in 1998 to 62 000 tons in 2007.
The ANC has repeatedly insisted that the land redistribution in South Africa will be done in an orderly manner, with no harm to food production and millions of jobs in the agricultural sector. – Zimbabwe Diaspora Scribes News Service
This article is published in partnership between Zimbabwe Digital News and Zim Diaspora Scribes.
Minister Molewa was joined by the local chieftainship and community leaders, as well as the leadership of the Likhaya Lethu Community Property Association (CPA) to witness the release of red hartebeest and zebra onto the Double Drift property. Pictures: Zimbabwe Diaspora Scribes Photographic Service
Molewa launches the wildlife project ahead of a three-day third Biodiversity Economy Indaba to be held at the International Convention Centre in East London, in the Eastern Cape – from Thursday to Friday.

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