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Land and Conflict in the Madimbo Corridor. Seminar presented to the Transboundary Protected Areas Research Initiative, 30 th September 2004 . Madimbo Corridor. 29 000 hectare strip of land alongside the Limpopo The Corridor semi-arid, limited water resources, poor soils

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Land and conflict in the madimbo corridor

Land and Conflict in the Madimbo Corridor

Seminar presented to the Transboundary Protected Areas Research Initiative, 30th September 2004

Madimbo corridor
Madimbo Corridor

  • 29 000 hectare strip of land alongside the Limpopo

  • The Corridor semi-arid, limited water resources, poor soils

  • Limpopo River Frontage, greater access to water and relatively more fertile.

  • The Corridor includes rare forests and salt pans.

  • Supports diverse wildlife species, dominated by year-round presence of Elephant and Buffalo.

  • Historically the Corridor has fulfilled 3 functions

    • As a Veterinary Controlled Area, to prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease.

    • Border Security

    • Training of SANDF Units

Value to gltp
Value to GLTP

  • The Corridor has been identified as being of strategic value to conservation initiative in the area.

    • It borders the GLTP in the north and the Sengwe Tribal Lands in the north.

    • It is a link in between the GLTP and a series of protected areas up the Limpopo River Valley, particularly the proposed Limpopo-Shashe Transfrontier Park.

    • Despite some contamination it remains a wilderness, with unique natural features

    • Inappropriate land use in the Corridor could have detrimental effects on the GLTP

    • Conservation plans for the area are subject to the conflict for control of the Corridor.

History of the conflict

3 Communities were forcibly removed from the Corridor and surrounding areas

The Makuleke settle land claim in 1998

The Gumbu and Mutele merge land claim in the same year

Corridor is officially restituted in August 2004. No Settlement Agreement to date.

The Claimants

Illegally use resources in the Corridor.

Protest, symbolically ‘invade’ the Corridor.

Invite international NGO to campaign on their behalf.

Department of Defence

Arrest Claimants

Initially refuse to negotiate

Offer a progression of comprises in order to retain use of the land

History of the Conflict

Land use options
Land Use Options surrounding areas

  • 4 Primary Land Use Options

    • Mining

    • Agriculture

    • Ranching (Livestock)

    • Tourism

      Most land use plans envisage a mixture of options

Mining and livestock

Mining surrounding areas

Has support of Community Property Association

Interest in diamonds, nickel and graphite

Indications that even if suitable mineral deposits do exist that mining is neither sustainable nor economically viable.

Mining practices could damage environment in the Corridor and the Makuleke region


Community determined to get access to grazing in the Corridor

Corridor is vulnerable to over-grazing

Relocation of electric fence to the Limpopo may interfere with wildlife migration.

Livestock within the Corridor may increase conflict between Community and wildlife

Mining and Livestock

Agriculture and tourism

Agriculture surrounding areas

Viability of agriculture uncertain, mostly poor soil

Use of herbicides by the SANDF might prevent commercial agriculture

Irrigation schemes from the Limpopo could affect wetlands and pans in the GLTP

Agriculture in the Corridor likely to heighten existing conflict with wildlife


Largely opposed by the Community

Identified as the most sustainable land use option

Could be integrated with other land use options

Agriculture and Tourism

Observations about the claim
Observations about the Claim surrounding areas

  • The Communities live next to the Corridor – demand immediate access to increase their resource base

  • Divisions created by the removals have resulted in disputes, a more holistic approach to the claim and land use options might have resolved the disputes and created a more coherent development plan for the area

  • Community’s perception of conservation and eco-tourism has been damaged as a result of lobbying by mining companies, but also the authoritarian and exclusive practices used in the past

  • The cultural value of the land is very important. Land-use options that might prevent access to the land may be rejected on cultural as oppose to economic or practical grounds.

The future
The Future surrounding areas

The future of the Corridor depends on the Settlement Agreement currently being negotiated by the Land Claims Commission and the Department of Defence AND whether it will be accepted by the Claimants

Lack of transparency in current negotiations excludes interested parties

Integrated land-use planning may permit the Corridor to remain part of wider conservation development plans.