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Lags in land claims frustrate forestry firms

Author: Mark Allix

THE issue of land claims for forestry companies is fraught with tension and ambiguity. The language used in relation to such claims includes notions of ownership, possession and, frequently, “unrealistic expectations”. 

There is often conflict with claimants after settlement, often due to the failure of authorities to deal with people living on the land who were not party to the claim. 

Forestry companies say they “actively engage” with the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights, which is situated within the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. 

But Sappi, the pulp, paper and chemical cellulose maker, says the resolution of claims “is not as quick as we would like it and … the attitude of regional commissions is that we have to fit in with their priorities”.

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