The Sunday Independent
Traditional leaders dare Motlanthe
TRADITIONAL leaders in KwaZulu-Natal have rushed to the defence of King Goodwill Zwelithini and dared those who want to take land that belongs to the Ingonyama Trust to “bring it on”.
Former President Kgalema Motlanthe was lambasted during the event that was held in Umzinyathi on Friday to celebrate the one millionth man in the province to be circumcised.
Speaker after speaker fired a broadside at Motlanthe who recently said tribal leaders behave like village tinpot dictators.
Motlanthe chaired a high-level panel assembled by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the land reform programme.
Leading the charge was Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza, chairperson of the provincial House of Traditional Leaders, who said Motlanthe was provoking traditional leaders.
He burst into tears during his speech as he ventilated his anger.
As Chiliza dragged himself through the speech, wiping tears from his face, King Goodwill could be heard asking people who were seated on stage to give him water. Without asking any questions, MEC for Health, Sibongiseni Dhlomo grabbed a bottle of water and to dashed to Chiliza.
Chiliza consoled himself and continued to vent rage at what Motlanthe had said about them.
Inkosi Mqoqi Ngcobo said: “Those who want to take our land must take it and they will see what we are made of. We are tired of being provoked,” he said.
Afterwards Chiliza said he had cried because Motlanthe was “stirring a war”.
“We don’t want any blood to be shed in our name so the ANC must condemn Motlanthe before it’s too late,” he said.
Chiliza warned that the general elections next year might be marred by chaos if the ANC-led government went ahead with expropriating tribal land.
He accused Motlanthe of not consulting with them before tabling his report to the cabinet.
Chiliza said that the king’s subjects were ready for any eventuality and would fight to protect their king.
Like Chiliza, King Zwelithini, who was keynote speaker, warned of war should the ANC proceed with expropriating tribal land.
The ANC adopted expropriation of land without compensation as policy at its December conference, prompting a tug-of-war between those who supported it and those against.
“I don’t want to see a war in this province. I’m pleading with the government not to take the land that belongs to people from rural villages because they will retaliate and blood will be shed. I don’t want to see that happening,” said King Zwelithini.
Like most speakers, Premier Willies Mchunu also expressed his concerns about the manner in which Motlanthe handled the issue.
He said as provincial leaders they would also be taking up the matter with the national leadership.
Mchunu turned to King Zwelithini, clasping his hands in a gesture of respect.
Commenting, political analyst Professor Bheki Mngomezulu, politics lecturer at the University of the Western Cape said that if the ANC do not call Motlanthe to order they will suffer at the national elections next year.