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Leaders smoked out in land conflict

Author: Tabelo Timse

 Three leaders of a communal land association at ­loggerheads with a local traditional leader over land ownership in Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal, are in hiding after their houses were burnt down. 

Such conflicts, between traditional authorities and a postapartheid ­structures legislated to promote democratic rural land ownership, will be brought into sharp focus when the Constitutional Court rules on who owns the rights to a supposedly platinum-rich area of North West province. 

William Mnyandu (82), chairperson of the Ekuthuleni Communal Property Association, and two other leaders, Mnyandu’s brother Walter and Charles Nxumalo, have lived in hiding for the past 10 months. 

The men say they can only return to their village if they agree to relinquish their land ownership rights to Chief Thandazani Zulu.

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