The community and the land claim
The Mkambati Nature Reserve is situated on the coast of north-eastern Pondoland, in the Eastern Cape.

Community: Mkambati Land Trust

Beneficiaries: 350+ households

Partners: Mkambati Matters (Pty) Ltd, Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency

Province: Eastern Cape

100+ jobs created

7 700+ Hectares land put to productive use

R65 Million investment mobilised

The Mkambati Nature Reserve lies between Port Edward and Port St Johns and is part of the Pondoland Centre of Plant Endemism. The centre is one of 235 global “environmental hotspot” sites identified as being critically important for global biodiversity.

The Mkambati communities comprise some 40 000 people in seven villages in the vicinity of the Mkambati Nature Reserve. Three hundred and twenty-six households launched a land claim over part of the Nature Reserve in 1994 under the auspices of seven Communal Property Associations.

The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency lodged an application with Vumelana in September 2011 for the establishment of a Community Public Private Partnership between the Mkambati Land Trust, who is the landowner, the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, who will maintain effective conservation management in partnership with the land owner, and a commercial investor who will provide the necessary development capital and skills for the development.

Vumelana’s involvement
The partnership agreement

Early in 2012, Vumelana appointed an advisory team consisting of Lima Rural Development Foundation, DB Consulting and Webber Wentzel Attorneys to facilitate an agreement between a tourism development company, the Mkambati Land Trust and the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency to develop properties in the northern part of the Reserve.

A well-known tourism development company expressed a keen interest in the potential development in the early stages of this project, and after meeting with the Trust and the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency in May 2012 it was agreed to proceed with a negotiated bid.

The Trust concluded a lease-based partnership agreement with Mkambati Matters in February 2013.

Potential Impact

The lease-based partnership agreement provides that the developer will lease a portion of the Reserve, fence it and develop 110-bed lodge and 10 villas at two beach locations at a cost of not less than R65-million. At the end of the lease period, the ownership of the lodge will revert to the Trust. The same applies to the villas, unless the Trust decides to renew the agreement. There is also an opportunity for the Trust to buy 25% of the shares in Mkambati Matters (Pty) Ltd once it is fully operational and becomes profitable.

The Trust and Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency will receive base rental increasing by CPI, plus 9% of turnover from Mkambati Matters (this will be split 66.6% to the Trust and 33.3% to Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency) on an annual basis. The project has significant potential benefits for the broader community aside from this base income, which includes preferential employment opportunities for members of the Trust in the construction, operating and maintaining of the lodge and villas (an estimated 100 jobs that will be created by this development, with at least 50% of these being filled by local women) and skills development opportunities in the hospitality industry.

Other Support

Read a summary of the Organisational Development and Capacity Building support provided to the Mkhambati Land Trust under Vumelana’s Community Property Institution Support Project

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