Speaking at the official opening of the provincial House of Traditional Leaders in Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal, yesterday, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini urged the government to refrain from talking about expropriating land under the Ingonyama Trust, of which he is the sole trustee.
The king’s comments come after the recent adoption in parliament of a motion on land expropriation without compensation, which brought into sharp focus the issue of land under the trust and whether it would also be expropriated.
The report of the high-level panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change chaired by former president Kgalema Motlanthe recommended that the Ingonyama Trust Act be repealed or amended.
The act permits the establishment of the Ingonyama Trust, which entrusts land to the king as its sole trustee.
“They must secure the land rights of the people affected, and ensure that the land vests in a person or body with proper democratic accountability. There is also a pressing need to create mechanisms to investigate and resolve complaints by people whose rights have been infringed by the trust, or whose rights may be infringed in the future,” states one of the recommendations by the report.
King Goodwill Zwelithini said the South African government should be forced to stop discussing the matter of expropriating land under the trust.
He said no one would be willing to hand over the land they had inherited, questioning from whom the land would be expropriated because traditional leaders and their subjects already occupied the land under the trust, and why the land was sought after. The king said the Zulu nation would be willing to fight for the land.
He recently called on Zulu people to make a donation of R5 towards raising funds for a possible legal battle over the dissolution of the trust and the expropriation of land under it.
The chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders, iNkosi Sipho Mahlangu, yesterday said the land under the trust belonged to all who lived on it.
“Traditional leaders have never said that the land does not belong to the people, the land belongs to traditional leaders and their people,” he said
He said he did not support the recommendations that the trust should be dissolved and that such a call should come from the subjects of traditional leaders.
“That agenda is driven by academics, it’s driven by people who come from your new liberal institutions. There are quite a number of NGOs that are funded by different universities that seek to drive a wedge between traditional communities and their traditional leaders,” iNkosi Mahlangu said.
The KZN government recently stated it did not support the expropriation of land under the trust.