South Africa Settles Kruger Game Reserve Land Claims

  • Land restitution adds to reversal of apartheid legacy: Zuma
  • Communities submitted claims for land seized under apartheid

South Africa’s government handed over compensation to communities for land claims under the country’s restitution program at the Kruger National Park, one of the largest game reserves on the continent.

“We are contributing to the reversal of the apartheid legacy by compensating six communities, three from Limpopo, and another three from Mpumalanga, all who were dispossessed through harsh apartheid laws,” President Jacob Zuma said during the handover ceremony on Saturday. A total of 84 million rand ($5.4 million) was paid in respect of land measuring 318,000 hectares, according to a statement e-mailed by the president’s office.

Communities and individuals submitted claims for land they said was seized after June 19, 1913, when the whites-only government passed laws restricting black land ownership to about 10 percent of the country. Apartheid was abolished in 1994, when the nation held its first democratic election.

The game reserve, which is located in northeastern South Africa in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, is one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions and home to wild animals including lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalo.

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