DFFE Deputy Minister Sotyu handed over plantations to two Eastern Cape communities.

The deputy minister of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), Makhotso Sotyu, recently handed over forestry plantations to the Batlokoa and Makhoba communities in Mount Fletcher, Eastern Cape.

The combined extent of these plantations is approximately 362,31 hectares. Sotyu gave the management of the Lehana and Fort Usher plantations to the Batlokoa community, and the Makhoba community received the Makhoba plantation.

“The transfer of the management of these plantations will go a long way to improve the livelihoods of the Batlokoa and Makhoba communities. This will also create jobs, and I would like to urge the youth and women to seize this opportunity,” said Sotyu.

The historic handover supports the government’s priority of economic transformation and job creation through the Forestry Sector Masterplan (FSM).

The FSM aims to ensure inclusive growth and transformation in the forestry sector. It hopes to attract the necessary investment and create economic and employment opportunities in rural areas. The plan balances environmental, economic and social benefits from the forestry resources.

Plantations are transferred to communities through Community Forestry Agreements (CFA) outlined in the National Forests Act (NFA). The act promotes sustainable management and development of forests for the benefit of all and encourages community forestry.


The DFFE entered into Community Forestry Agreements with the community leaders.

The DFFE entered into Community Forestry Agreements with the community leaders.

The DFFE, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure and several municipalities agreed to facilitate the recommissioning of lease-expired state land for commercial forestry plantations through CFAs with the communities currently occupying the land.

Sotyu said Section 29 of the NFA allows communities interested in managing state forest plantations to submit their request to the Minister. The Batlokoa and Makhoba communities applied, and the minister approved and signed their CFAs”.

“Forestry is one of the leading sectors in our economy that has the capacity and capability to contribute to the growth of this country. As part of the initiatives to support that growth, the department led the development of the masterplan,” explained Sotyu.

“In line with the signed CFAs, I would like to commit on behalf of the department that we will provide the necessary support required to make these plantations viable businesses in the future. The department will work with the affected communities to develop a plan that will ensure the sustainable management of these resources.”

Where feasible, industry role players will be asked to assist communities with additional expertise and resources to recapitalise the non-productive plantations.