Assessment of settlement models for engagement of communities in forest land under claim in Jessievale and Roburna communities in Mpumalanga, South Africa
Chirwa, Paxie W.
Manda, Samuel O.M.
Babalola, Folaranmi D.
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An estimated 40% of privately owned plantations are subject to land claims, and 70% of State-owned plantations are under claim in South Africa. The study therefore identified the settlement models for future engagement of communities in forestry with forest land under claim. In total, 231 households were purposively sampled at Jessievale (n = 100) and Roburna (n = 131) where the primary data was collected through questionnaire administered to household heads. In general, 70% of the respondents indicated that they would opt for a settlement model that involves forestry. About 27% chose joint venture model, whereas 19% chose the lease agreement model. The joint venture model was the most preferred due to its ability to transfer the land to the claimants, in addition to opportunities such as transfer of management skills, job creation and empowerment of local communities. Age and possession of forestry skills significantly (p < 0.01) contribute to the choice of the different models. While communities were interested in getting their land back, they were not fully utilising the small portions of land currently available to them for agriculture. Hence, demand for land may be driven more by other land use options such as land for expanding new homes and grazing. In conclusion, communities were still interested in forestry as a land use option. However, future forestry models should clearly address land ownership and accommodate other land use options.