“If there is a dispute regarding land issues, lodge a claim ..."

Date: 14 April 2016   Read: 11045

This letter is a response to the article published last year (5 June 2015) titled Thovhele Masia questions legitimacy of Kurhuleni structure.

Firstly, Chief Masia needs to read history correctly and understand it. The fact that a village is situated next to your area does not necessary means that it belongs to you. The villages of Kuruleni, Nkuzana and Majosi are situated right at the doorstep of Chief Masia’s area of jurisdiction, but that does not mean that the land of Nkuzana, Majosi and Kuruleni belong to him, it belongs to the people who live there, who are outside Chief Masia’s area of  jurisdiction. Just like Kuruleni, the people of Majosi and Nkuzana will never give away their land to someone else.

History of the Transvaal region indicates that Kuruleni, Valdezia, Waterval, Elim, Shirley, Shilubana (Tzaneen) and Masana (Bushbuckridge) were Mission villages occupied by the Tsonga people, with ownership resting upon the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of South Africa (EPCSA). Of all the Mission villages, only Valdezia remains in the hands of EPCSA, the rest has been sold to the South African Government. Mission villages were never ruled by chiefs and headmen, their authority was vested in the hands of the EPCSA.

Finally, if Chief Masia thinks that some of the land situated next to his area belongs to him, he must do the honourable thing: he must approach the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and lodge a land claim on behalf of the Masia Traditional Authority. As Chief Masia may already know, South African Law does not allow for the removal of one group at the expense of another for the purpose of settling land disputes; where land is already occupied, financial compensation is normally paid out to the claimants. (Source: Embroiled: Swiss Churches, South Africa and Apartheid (2011).  Caroline Jeannerat, Eric Morier-
Genoud, Didier Péclard. Zürich: Switzerland)

- Makhosini Makhubele



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