Mpumalanga's 2010 Stadium land saga settled for R8.7 Million

By Tshwarelo eseng Mogakane

Nelspruit - Mpumalanga's 2010 community has been paid over R8 million for the land on which the provincial R1 billion 2010 stadium is being built.

This week government confirmed that the Matsafeni land beneficiaries sold 69.7 hectares of land to the Mbombela municipality for R8.7 million.

"We have finally reached a deal that makes everybody happy. This deal marks a great end to a long battle between the community and government," said professional trustee in the interim Matsafeni board of trustees, Meshack Silinda.

Mbombela spokesperson Joseph Ngala said the deal was signed on 21 April, following a visit by former deputy president Baleka Mbete to Nelspruit early this year to quell growing disputes over the land.

"The former deputy president's office initiated the fresh negotiations, which were ultimately handed to us to implement," he said.

Mbombela's 2010 coordinator Differ Mogale said Mbombela bought the land through the provincial public works department after an independent land valuer priced it at R8.7 million.

"The land includes the portion on which the stadium is being constructed as well as portions on which two new schools will be erected and the streets and servitudes required to provide precinct with infrastructure," said Mr Mogale.

He said there was a court order preventing them from transferring the land as yet. "The interdict is presently being addressed with the Matsafeni Trust," he said.

Discussions were being held around the development of a massive precinct around the 2010 stadium.

"It is the intention to use the stadium and other infrastructure as leverage to develop the precinct into a strong economic node. The precinct has certain unique benefits and a specific development framework will be developed to realise the full potential of the area.

"Discussions are presently taking place between the Matsafeni Trust, Mbombela Local Municipality and other parties that could add value to the process," he said.

He said while the process to develop the area was underway, costs were yet to be determined.
Provincial and municipal officials initially tried to convince the Matsafeni community to donate the land for just R1.

The land is part of a larger 5 700-hectare farm outside Nelspruit that was restored to the Matsafeni as part of a land claim seven years ago.