Deputy Minister Makhotso Sotyu to hand over Forestry Plantations to the Makhoba and Batlokoa Communities in the Eastern Cape
The Deputy Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Makhotso Sotyu, will hand over forestry plantations to the Batlokoa Traditional Council and the Makhoba Traditional Council in Mount Fletcher on Thursday, 30 June 2022.
The combined extent of these plantations is approximately 362.31 hectares (Makhoba 145.95 ha, Lehana 89.44 ha and Fort Usher 127.72 ha) and they are planted with eucalyptus trees.
The handover is in tandem with the commitment made by Deputy Minister Sotyu during the Budget Speech presentation in Parliament that the Department would be transferring plantations to communities in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo. The transfer will be done through Community Forestry Agreements to communities in line with the National Forests Act.
The Act promotes sustainable management and development of forests for the benefit of all and promote community forestry. The agreement is the outcome of discussions between the DFFE and the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure with several municipalities to facilitate that all lease-expired state land, should be recommissioned back for forestry commercial plantations, with the aim to enter into a Community Forestry Agreement with the communities that are now currently occupying the land.
The handover will also include the development of a Post-settlement Support Plan that will guide these communities and offer supported once the plantations are transferred.
This will maximise the ability of the communities in ensuring that the plantations transferred are managed sustainably.