Royal re­volt over Trust

Tra­di­tional lead­ers want full rights, con­trol over land

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - BONGANI HANS

SOME tra­di­tional lead­ers in KwaZulu-Natal are re­volt­ing against King Good­will Zwelithini’s In­gonyama Trust, say­ing they want full rights and con­trol of the money be­ing gen­er­ated by their land.

Inkosi Mz­a­bane Makhoba from Kok­stad in south­ern KwaZulu-Natal told In­de­pen­dent Me­dia that while he was anointed by King Zwelithini and ap­pre­ci­ated the role of the board of the Trust in pro­tect­ing the tra­di­tional land from be­ing taken over by the state, amakhosi de­served a right to have full con­trol of their land.

“The In­gonyama Trust should give tra­di­tional lead­ers full right to ad­min­is­ter fi­nances gen­er­ated through leas­ing the land to in­vestors. Cur­rently the tra­di­tional land ben­e­fits In­gonyama Trust, while tra­di­tional lead­ers and their com­mu­ni­ties get noth­ing,” he said.

“There­fore I sug­gest that the land should be fully ad­min­is­tered by amakhosi and their tra­di­tional coun­cils for the ben­e­fit of their com­mu­ni­ties,” Makhoba said.

There are 303 tra­di­tional lead­ers in the province, most of whom have ex­pressed sup­port for the In­gonyama Trust and have called on the state not to in­ter­fere with the king’s land.

King Zwelithini is the sole trus­tee of In­gonyama, which ad­min­is­ters 2.8 mil­lion hectares of ru­ral land in the province and re­port­edly col­lects close to R90 mil­lion a year through leas­ing land to busi­nesses.

Inkosi Bhun­gane Hadebe said his com­mu­nity in Est­court, north­ern KwaZulu-Natal, did not recog­nise In­gonyama Trust “be­cause we were never con­sulted when it was formed”.

“We share the same view with the Zulu King that the land be­longs to tra­di­tional lead­ers and not to the gov­ern­ment. But we can­not recog­nise a body that was formed with­out con­sult­ing all tra­di­tional lead­ers,” Hadebe said.

The cam­paign to pro­tect In­gonyama came af­ter for­mer pres­i­dent Kgalema Mot­lanthe re­leased a re­port com­piled by a par­lia­men­tary panel that rec­om­mended that Par­lia­ment should con­sider re­peal­ing the In­gonyama Trust Act as it was un­con­sti­tu­tional.

The Act was for­mu­lated by IFP leader Man­go­suthu Buthelezi while prime min­is­ter of the de­funct Zu­l­u­land home­land, and passed by for­mer pres­i­dent FW de Klerk on the eve of the first demo­cratic elec­tions in 1994.

Last week, Buthelezi said he sin­gle-hand­edly formed In­gonyama Trust to pro­tect the land, which used to fall un­der the home­land gov­ern­ment, from fall­ing un­der the gov­ern­ment’s con­trol.

Some tra­di­tional lead­ers have been silently op­pos­ing the pow­ers of the In­gonyama Trust board.

“The King does not have the own­er­ship of the land. The land be­longed to our fore­fa­thers, who as tra­di­tional lead­ers had full rights and pow­ers over their land un­til the for­ma­tion of the In­gonyama,” a tra­di­tional leader said on con­di­tion of anonymity.

“I, to­gether with a num­ber of other tra­di­tional lead­ers, don’t want our land to be ad­min­is­tered by In­gonyama. We want to ad­min­is­ter our own land like we did be­fore the In­gonyama was formed in 1994,” a tra­di­tional leader from the Mid­lands added.

An­other tra­di­tional leader said pre­vi­ously they would take their own de­ci­sions about their own land, but now had to write let­ters to the In­gonyama Trust to re­quest de­vel­op­ment on their land.

“Some­times the board would re­ject our re­quests. It means I am not inkosi when I have to beg some­one who does not be­long to my land to use my land,” he said, re­quest­ing anonymity.

But Congress of Tra­di­tional Lead­ers of SA sec­re­tary Inkosi Mh­labun­z­ima Ma­phu­mulo dif­fered, say­ing each tra­di­tional coun­cil had con­trol of their re­spec­tive land, although in­vestors who wanted to op­er­ate busi­nesses on the land signed a lease agree­ment with In­gonyama Trust.

“Busi­nesses pay an an­nual levy to In­gonyama Trust. There are tra­di­tional trust ac­counts within In­gonyama Trust (in re­spect) of which tra­di­tional coun­cils and amakhosi have ac­cess to that money, which helps to de­velop their com­mu­ni­ties.”

King’s spokesper­son Thu­lani Zulu de­clined to com­ment, while In­gonyama Trust board chair­per­son Judge Jerome Ng­wenya did not re­spond to ques­tions sent to him through SMS and emails.

The Mail and Guardian re­cently re­ported that the In­gonyama Trust board was be­ing legally chal­lenged for al­legedly forc­ing busi­nesses, churches and res­i­dents to lease their land.

KwaZulu-Natal Coun­cil of Churches and Lutheran Church were among the groups pre­par­ing to go to court to stop the board from con­tin­u­ing to lease the land.

CHAL­LENGE: Some tra­di­tional lead­ers want full con­trol of their land, cur­rently con­trolled by King Good­will Zwelithini, seen here with Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

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