A key principle of the land reform programme in South Africa is that the land transferred should continue to be productive and that the new owners should be empowered to run their own business and get the full benefits of land ownership.
One of the first land reform settlements achieved in the forestry sector was a farm that was formerly part of a Mondi-owned forestry estate. The forestry business is now run by the kwaZiqongwana Community Trust. At the time of the transfer, the kwaZiqongwana community had no previous experience of running a forestry operation.
Mondi agreed to manage the forestry operations for a period of 10 years and to pay an annual rental and a stumpage fee, while providing a range of support services to enable the community to develop the skills it needs to eventually take over the estate management.
We’re now half way through the 10-year handover. The business employs 34 people – all from local communities – and is playing an increasingly active role in planning and managing the forestry operations.