The DA welcomes the multi-party Rural Development and Land Reform Portfolio Committee’s decision to initiate a forensic investigation into the Mala Mala land deal.
Mala Mala is South Africa’s most expensive land deal to date and has cost taxpayers R 1.1 billion. It was finalised and restored to the Nwandlamharhi Communal Property Association (CPA) in 2013/2014.
Both the Land Claims Court and High court ruled that the price envisioned for Mala Mala was excessive and not in the best interests of South Africans. However, the deal went through before the case reached the Constitutional Court and this needs to be investigated.
After the DA pushed for the Portfolio Committee to discuss the Mala Mala claim, a multi-party committee heard a presentation by the Land Claims Commission and the committee adopted the DA’s proposal to initiate proceedings for a forensic investigation by the Special Investigative Units.
The report presented to the committee detailed how the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform handled the Mala Mala deal and further detailed possible corruption currently within the CPA, but could not explain why the state originally opposed the proposed amount of R751 737 million but finally settled on the increased amount outside of the courts.
The High-level Panel report chaired by former President, Kgalema Motlanthe, specifically stated that the Mala Mala claim is part the issue of inconsistent prioritisation of land claims, with other older claims being held back.
Additionally the panel found that “the community, recently formed for the purpose of lodging the land claim, was also not in fact eligible for restitution, but this fact was ignored by the Mpumalanga Land Claims Commission, despite the findings of a historical research report that was paid for by the Commission.”
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, through the Executive, must ensure that a forensic audit into Mala Mala is instituted so that any past or current corruption can be exposed.
The DA stands at the forefront of fighting corruption and ensuring that land claim beneficiaries actually benefit from progressive Land reform decisions.