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In the context of possible future shale gas exploitation, if the conflicts and uncertainties between communities and traditional authorities regarding land tenure and tenure security are not addressed, the potential benefits of shale gas development may be jeopardized. 

These are among the findings of Nelson Mandela University master’s graduate in Development Studies, Mkhuseli 'Khusta' Mtsila from Zwide  in Gqebera, a community activist and Nelson Mandela Bay City Councillor and Mayoral Committee member.

The possible solution to these problems of status in land tenure, is to review the current land tenure legislation and reach consensus with the relevant stakeholders to properly define the powers and roles of traditional authorities in the communal areas, Mkhuseli’s research concludes.

The study explores the potential impacts of shale gas development in the Amathole District Municipality. It is the first study in the former ‘homeland’ areas of the Eastern Cape where land is held under communal tenure. The concerns of residents regarding shale gas development include water contamination and the loss of agricultural land, the loss of land for cultural purposes, and potential evictions and relocations in the context of insecure land tenure.  

This Masters research was conducted as part of a bigger research project entitled the 'Karoo Shale Gas Baseline Study” which focuses on the socio-economic impact of shale gas development in the Karoo basin', under the leadership of the late Prof Maarten de Wit.

Development Studies’ Prof Janet Cherry supervised Mkhuseli's research, which was co-supervised by Barry Morkel, who was working at AEON with Prof De Wit and is submitting his PhD thesis as part of the same project.

Dr Nyaradzo Dhliwayo (supervised by Prof De Wit and Prof Cherry) graduated last year with her PhD also part of the same project, says Prof Cherry.

“I am delighted to have achieved this master’s degree, as it was a wonderful experience for me. The road towards this huge achievement in my life was not an easy one, but with hard work, persistence and the immense contribution from my supervisor Prof Janet Cherry I managed to pull through my research work”, says Mkhuseli.

“I am already working in the local government space, and my MA will equip me with skills, knowledge and creativity to respond to complex developmental challenges in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality”, he says.


Contact information
Professor Janet Cherry
Tel: 27 41 504 2483