King holds olive branch to Ethekwini

2012-09-20 00:00

KING Goodwill Zwelithini has expressed deep concern about the acrimonious relationship between the Ethekwini Municipality and the Ingonyama Trust, which he said was detrimental to progress and development in KZN.

He was speaking at a special sitting of the council at the City Hall in Durban yesterday.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruled in June that Ingonyama Trust land was state land and therefore exempt from paying rates to the municipality from 1998 to 2005.

The Trust is the single largest landowner in KwaZulu-Natal presiding over 32 % (2,7 million hectares) of all the land in KwaZulu-Natal, including land in Umlazi, KwaMashu and Inanda.

“It is not a secret that the Ingonyama Trust Board and your municipality do not see eye to eye, which led to a recent court case which the municipality lost.

“Under normal circumstances, as chairman of a victorious Ingonyama Trust Board in this court case I should be celebrating, but I can’t because in my view these differences are an obstacle to community development,” said the king.

A total of 4,5 million people live on Trust land administered by 250 traditional councils.

The municipality took the the Trust to court seeking clarity on whether, under the old Rating of State Property Act, it was exempt from paying rates.

The Durban high court initially ruled in the municipality’s favour, but the trust was successful in its appeal.

Yesterday , the monarch extended an olive branch to the municipality and called on councillors to put politics aside and strive to prioritise service delivery to better the lives of the people who elected them.

“I appeal to you all to approach political conditions and programmes without consideration for political affiliation, area or race.

“Offer leadership to all citizens because there is no single party that wins elections through its members only, many of the votes come from ordinary [unaffiliated] members of society. When you are elected into positions of power you shouldn’t only help people who are affiliated to your party. I am sure we all agree that poverty knows no race and development is needed by all.”

The king also offered to organise an urgent meeting between the municipality and the Ingonyama Trust Board to resolve the legal dispute over the payment of rates.

The king’s visit to eThekwini forms part of his 64th birthday celebrations and his 40-year reign as the Zulu monarch.

Meanwhile, former Zambian president, Kenneth Kaunda, who was in the country to form a partnership with the King Zwelithini Foundation on HIV/Aids and rural development, had to cut short his stay yesterday when he received the news that his beloved wife, Betty had died at the age of 84 in Zimbabwe.

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