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South Africa to Return Land to Exiled Community


A South African community that was driven from its land some 80 years ago will get it back under a deal approved by the government Thursday.

The South African cabinet endorsed an out-of-court settlement that will give the Richtersveld community a reported 84,000 hectares in North Cape province and reparations of $25 million.

The government forcibly moved the community of mostly Khoi origin in the 1920s to clear the way for diamond mining.

Richtersveld members began pressing for restoration of the land about a decade ago. South Africa's Constitutional Court recognized the legitimacy of their claim in a 2003 ruling.

Officials say the final agreement between the government and the community will be signed "shortly," and that the money will be paid out over the next three years.

The settement follows months of negotiations involving community members and state-owned diamond miner Alexkor.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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