News / Opinion / Columns

Sydney Majoko
3 minute read
10 Jul 2018
8:30 am

The EFF and ANC betray the people to appease a king

Sydney Majoko

Zwelithini needs to be told the truth, not mollycoddled: He is depriving ordinary South Africans of their birthrights.

King Goodwill Zwelithini. Picture: Twitter.

Last week saw one of the most extraordinary outbursts of the post-1994 period when Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini threatened to take his people and land and secede from South Africa. This followed the government’s plans to implement the recommendations of the Motlanthe high-level panel on the land held by traditional leaders.

The Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB) holds land that Zwelithini’s people have been benefiting from for decades. That is land that is held in trust for the benefit of his people, but the same people who are meant to benefit from the land are the ones who claim the ITB is making it impossible for them to use the land profitably because of the onerous requirements they need to fulfil to stay on the land.

Besides the constitution, the other document that can claim to have a beautiful legacy that covers the views of all South Africans is the Freedom Charter.

Over the years, this charter has been misconstrued as being an ANC document when in fact it is simply a document that has been adopted by the ruling party, but involved more than the ANC in its drafting.

Of the 10 tenets that the charter has, the one on land is the most relevant right now: “The land shall be shared among those who work it! Restrictions of land ownership on a racial basis shall be ended, and all the land re-divided among those who work it to banish famine and land hunger; the state shall help the peasants with implements, seed, tractors and dams to save the soil and assist the tillers.”

It does not matter that the king is black. What does matter is that he and the ITB are imposing restrictions on land ownership among the people who live on the land they control.

It is sad that the EFF and the ANC have both jumped to the defence of the king to the exclusion of the real people suffering from this apartheid-era arrangement to appease the then traditional leader of the Zulu people and Mangosuthu Buthelezi into not resisting the apartheid state.

The upcoming general election has both the ruling party and their radical nemesis, the EFF, singing from the same hymn book because KwaZulu-Natal is an important province in both provincial and national elections.

In fact, it can be easily said that whoever wins KZN wins the country because of the sheer numbers of voters in that province. But that should never be reason enough to pander to the tantrums of a king who is supported by the taxes of all those South Africans that he is threatening with secession. Cyril Ramaphosa and Julius Malema are making a big mistake by mollycoddling the king instead of telling him the truth – he is depriving ordinary South Africans of their birthright by denying them access to land.

KZN’s notoriety as the bedrock of political violence in the run-up to our first democratic election has had a few other leaders threaten the nation in the name of protecting Zulu interests. Before the king threw his toys out of the cot, Jacob Zuma threatened that should his “persecution” (read lawful prosecution) continue, there could be violence.

The government must ensure that the land is fairly shared “among those who work it”, not among those who use their titles to threaten instability to get their way.

Sydney Majoko.

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