Land claims in South Africa: Uniqueness, historical distortions and injustices on the copper miners of Musina
Sebola, Mokoko P.
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This article argues that the case of the land claim by the descendants of the Copper Miners of Musina (the Musina clan) presents a unique case of historical distortions and injustice of land and mineral resources ownership by a South African black community. Land claims in South Africa have become widespread since the advent of the country’s democracy. With the land reform programmes in South Africa, some communities have been able to lay their hands on lost land that was forcefully taken from the locals under apartheid. The achievement with regards to reparation in South Africa has seen some claims being successfully processed. However, there are some beneficiaries who undeservedly possess land through undetected fraudulent claims. When such exists; deserving claimants like the Musina clan remain landless because of historical distortions and failure by the current regime to restore justice. This article is conceptual and it uses literature analysis approach to argue that archeologists and ethnologists deliberately ignored the historical studies on the copper miners of Musina in order to hide the truth about the discovery of copper mining in Messina. There are writings making incorrect assumptions regarding how Lieutenant Colonel Pascoe Grenfell, James Harper and James Campbell in 1903 discovered coal in mines deserted by the natives in order to ascribe the discovery to the white community in Messina. The author argues that there were no disserted mines in Messina when Lieutenant Colonel Grenfell arrived in Messina in 1903, instead what he did was to register the company and obtain a discoverers certificate, introduce new technology of mining and expropriate the mine from the Musina clan without compensation. It is suggested that new avenues regarding such history be fully researched towards gaining a more comprehensive view of the role and impact of the Musina clan.