Legal fight over Ingonyama leases
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level panel, whose report is currently before the land reform portfolio committee, had recommended that the board be repealed and security of tenure introduced for residents living on trust land.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