Government and Matsafeni Trust deadlock over parliamentary village price
MBOMBELA – The Matsafeni Trust and the provincial government are fighting over the parliamentary village being built on part of the town’s Woodhouse farm.
Talks between the parties are deadlocked, which ended construction about a month ago. At the center of the dispute is a delinquency of Rand 130 million.
Matsafeni’s board of directors refused to sign the transfer until the Mpumalanga Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport paid the outstanding amount.
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Construction had already started before the board allegedly waived assurances to donate the land after the government reportedly fulfilled its commitment to provide bulk water and electricity to the expanding community by Mattafin.
The land in question has significant historical significance as the Mdluli clan, which had occupied it since 1880, was evicted under notorious apartheid laws in the 1950s.
Since 1921, ownership has been transferred to HL Hall and Sons, a local giant in the fresh produce, property development, pharmaceuticals, technology and financial services industries.
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After a successful request for land restitution in 2013, it was returned to the Mdlulis and purchased by the Mpumalanga government for a symbolic R1 to begin construction of the Mbombela stadium.
The sale was halted after an outcry from beneficiaries who appealed to the High Court in Pretoria for a ban on the proceedings.
A price of R 8 million has finally been set, with public works so far spending R 240 million on the village.
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The Matsafeni Trust has since withdrawn the donation from the land and added Rand 130 million to the price, which has required talks between it and the government to resolve the impasse.
Public works spokesman Cyril Dlamini said: “The Matsafeni Trust has informed the department of the withdrawal of the land donation to the Mpumalanga provincial government to build the parliamentary village, contrary to the previous agreement.
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“Instead, a cost of R 130 million was placed on the land in question. As a result, the two parties are currently engaged in further discussions to seek an amicable concession.
“The government has so far invested R 240 million in the project, but remains confident that a consensus will be reached in the best interest of both parties, including the citizens of the province,” he concluded.
Lowvelder was unable to obtain comments from the Matsafeni Trust at the time of going to press.