King moots a Zulu land claim

2013-04-04 00:00

KING Goodwill Zwelithini yesterday gave amakhosi two months to consult his subjects on whether he should lead a campaign to lodge a claim for land the Zulu nation lost more than a century ago.

“It is my wish that you must find a mandate whether there is a need for me, as your king, to lead a campaign by following the law to lodge a land claim with the national government,” he said.

The Ingonyama Trust Board would help communities and traditional leaders to lodge land claims, he added.

The proposal comes almost two months after President Jacob Zuma told Parliament and the National House of Traditional Leaders that the land claims process would be reopened.

Zuma said the beneficiaries would be those who had missed the 1998 deadline for land claims and those who had been dispossessed before 1913.

Yesterday, King Goodwill said land dispossession did not start in 1913 and Zulu chiefs had been killed and exiled for resisting it.

He claimed that the Zulu nation had been moved from fertile land long before the notorius Natives Land Act of 1913, and the present borders of Zululand were not what they used to be.

“It is my wish that when we lodge the land claim as a nation, it will help to correct our history.

“I wish that these consultations with communities should take place over two months starting this coming weekend.”

The king made the comments in a prepared speech for the opening of the KZN House of Traditional Leaders. His spokesperson, Nhlanhla Mtaka, said the event was attended by Premier Zweli Mkhize and MEC Nomusa Dube.

In a statement, the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department made no mention of the land issues raised by the king. Instead, it quoted him urging traditional leaders to lead the fight against crime.

In his address, the king alleged there was a campaign to discredit and disempower the Ingonyama Trust Board.

“Those who are behind this campaign accuse us that we withhold land that should be used for development purposes,” he said.

He told traditional leaders: “Co-operate with me in defending the little and remaining land we have.

“Do this just as your forebears did. Don’t do it for me, but for future generations.”

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