Mondi Land Claims Agreement
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and Mondi recently signed land claim settlement agreements with two rural communities. The land will be leased back to Mondi and will continue to produce timber for its mills. The lease agreements ensure progressive involvement of communities in the forestry business.
In South Africa today, some 125,061 hectares or 49% of our total owned land holdings are subject to 82 land claims. These land claims stem from a complex legacy of state-led forestation and forced removals of indigenous peoples, first initiated in 1913. The 1994 Restitution of Land Act aims to redress the deprivation of many indigenous South Africans of their rightful heritage. Restitution can take one of three forms including restoration of land, payment of compensation, or a combination of the two.
The issue is clearly a significant one for Mondi. We are committed to playing a positive role in meeting the land reform targets that have been set out for the country and the forestry industry, while at the same time minimising land transfer to alternative uses to around 15%.
In reaching a settlement, we seek a long-term sustainable solution. These may include leasebacks or joint ventures, always undertaken in partnership with the new landowners to facilitate land reform rather than merely land restitution.
To achieve this, Mondi has developed an innovative model for engaging and settling with land claimant communities in South Africa, and is working constructively with government and communities to develop claimant communities into sustainable forestry enterprises.
To date, 11 Mondi land claims have been settled. Agreement was reached in 2011 for a further 32 claims in KwaZulu-Natal to be settled over the next three years. A total of 39 land claims remain in Mpumalanga. Some 19,200 hectares of Mondi land under forestry have been transferred to community beneficiaries.
Following a successful land claim process, communities gain ownership of the land and derive a sustainable income from it, while at the same time progressively developing their own businesses to operate within the forestry value chain. Critical to Mondi's approach is to ensure that land claim
beneficiaries receive meaningful and sustainable benefits, and that sources of fibre are both assured and sustainably managed into the future and retain their FSC(tm) certification.
During the year no incidents of violations involving rights of indigenous people were reported.
For more on Mondi initiatives go to http://sd-report.mondigroup.com