Le­gal fight over In­gonyama leases

Mail & Guardian - - News -

Trust land would not be tar­geted by the pol­icy of ex­pro­pri­a­tion without com­pen­sa­tion.

Par­lia­ment’s high level panel, whose re­port is cur­rently be­fore the land re­form port­fo­lio com­mit­tee, had rec­om­mended that the board be re­pealed and se­cu­rity of ten­ure in­tro­duced for res­i­dents liv­ing on trust land.

A se­cond ap­pli­ca­tion against the trust is also be­ing brought by resi- dents of uMnini, on the KwaZu­luNatal South Coast, to pre­vent it and the lo­cal inkosi, Phati­sizwe Luthuli, from sell­ing off land be­long­ing to the res­i­dents.

Peo­ple had set­tled on the land in the 19th cen­tury af­ter they were re­moved from Dur­ban’s Bluff to make way for a whal­ing sta­tion,

Mb­hense, who also rep­re­sents the uMnini peo­ple, said they had un­suc­cess­fully ap­proached the board, the de­part­ment of co-op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance and tra­di­tional af­fairs and the de­part­ment of land re­form to stop Luthuli from sell­ing plots to out­siders want­ing to build hol­i­day homes in the area.

The co-op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance de­part­ment has failed to act on its own in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, as well as a foren­sic au­dit it had com­mis­sioned, both of which found against Luthuli, who is also at the cen­tre of a chief­taincy dis­pute.

Mb­hense said the se­cond ap­pli­ca­tion would be lodged in the high court in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg next month.

The board faces other le­gal chal­lenges. Ed­ward Mpeko, owner of the Umnini Hol­i­day Re­sort, is su­ing the board for R6.5-mil­lion in dam­ages caused by the loss of the fa­cil­ity, which he ran for 13 years, af­ter it was in­vaded and looted dur­ing a dis­pute be­tween Mpeko and Luthuli.

The board re­voked Mpeko’s lease and evicted him. Mpeko then went to the high court to chal­lenge his evic­tion and won, but was left des­ti­tute by the loss of his re­sort, which was com­pletely de­stroyed.

Mpeko served no­tice of his in­ten­tion to sue the board in April. His lawyers are still wait­ing for a court date.

A se­cond uMnini busi­ness­man, Ron Wil­son, whose bass fish­ing venue at Umnini Dam was in­vaded by a ten­ant who ran a bar on the premises, is su­ing the board for R1.5-mil­lion. The board paid him R180 000 in Septem­ber last year but Wil­son wants fur­ther pay­ment from it for vi­o­lat­ing the lease.

Ng­wenya had not re­sponded to calls and emails from the Mail & Guardian at the time of writ­ing.

Di­vided: Zulu King Good­will Zwelithini, an­gered by a land re­form pro­posal that the In­gonyama Trust be dis­solved, called an im­bizo last month. Now the trust faces a le­gal chal­lenge. Photo: Del­wyn Verasamy

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