KwaZulu-Natal Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) secretary iNkosi Nhlakanipho Maphumulo says the land issue is being used by some in the ANC leadership to get rid of the institution of traditional leaders.
This comes after the king of amaZulu warned yesterday that the province would secede from the rest of South Africa and establish an independent Zulu state should the Ingonyama Trust – which owns about 29.67% of mostly deep rural land in KZN – be dissolved or amended.
The King Goodwill Zwelithini’s comments come as the Constitutional Review Committee, which was mandated by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces earlier this year, is reviewing section 25 of the Constitution to make it possible for the state to expropriate land without compensation.
The National Assembly tasked the committee to review the Constitution after Parliament voted in favour of an Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) motion on land expropriation without compensation.
“The problem with some people in this ANC-led government is that they want to rid the country of traditional leadership and the institution [of traditional leadership] and the first entry point for them is the land that we occupy in rural areas under Ingonyama Trust. Once they render traditional leaders paralysed and no longer in control of the land, they know that they will completely rid the country of the institution of traditional leadership,” iNkosi Maphumulo said on Radio 702.
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The secretary of KZN Contralesa said dissolving the Ingonyama Trust would incite violence.
Maphumulo said traditional leaders, the KZN provincial government and the House of Traditional Leaders and its equivalent department had no knowledge of complaints or issues raised by those who live on land under the trust.
“These are departments or institutions which should be addressing the issues of these people who are living under Ingonyama Trust land if there are any problems that they encounter,” the secretary said.
According to a researcher on the same radio show, these complaints include people’s land rights being threatened or violated, in some instances by mining companies.
Maphumulo said with regards to mining companies obtaining licences to mine land in rural areas, there are processes and procedures that should be followed by the companies and traditional leaders. “If there are traditional leaders or so-called chiefs […] who are breaking the law, then that must be dealt with, you obviously cannot violate somebody else’s rights.”
Speaking about research conducted by the high-level panel led by former president Kgalema Motlanthe and other organisations into the land issue and the trust, iNkosi Maphumulo said traditional leaders, including the provincial government, had no knowledge of this research.
“The provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal has stated clearly that they have never been aware of any national delegation that came into the province to conduct research, they were not even aware of the high-level panel, mind you,” he said.
He added the majority of people living on land under the jurisdiction of the Ingonyama Trust did not have issues with the trust. “You cannot tell me about a small minority of people who want to impose their own will on us, that cannot happen, we live in a democracy here.”
The report of the high-level panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change chaired by 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.