After the Ingonyama Trust could not account for the R22 million allocated to it by the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development, the relevant portfolio committee recommended the department should suspend payment to the trust.
The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development met on Friday and adopted its Budget Vote Report for the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development and its entities.
Among the recommendations in the report, was the suspension or withholding of funds allocated to the trust for the 2020/21 financial year, due to there being no clear programmes to deal with the empowerment of youth, women and people with disabilities in the rural communities, in line with the purpose of the board, which was the management of the trust for the material wellbeing of traditional communities on trust land, according to a statement from the committee.
“The failure of the trust to account for the R22 million allocated to it by the department is noted and therefore the committee supports the suspension of its funds until a review is done,” said committee chairperson Zwelivelile Mandela.
When the trust tabled its strategic and annual performance plans, no budget information was included. Therefore, the status of the budget presented in the committee briefing is uncertain.
The committee requires the trust to table its budget, indicating by an addendum how the allocation will further its purposes.
The committee also noted several vacancies on the board occurred in the past year, including the suspension or precautionary leave of the chief executive officer and chief financial officer as well as six top officials.
When the board appeared before the committee earlier this month, its chairperson, Jerome Ngwenya, would not explain the reasons for the suspensions. He said the matters were before a court.
The trust is the biggest landowner in KwaZulu-Natal and King Goodwill Zwelithini is its only trustee.