King’s trust to give land titles

2016-06-08 14:01
King Goodwill Zwelithini (Siyabonga Masonkutu, The Witness)

King Goodwill Zwelithini (Siyabonga Masonkutu, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Millions of people in KwaZulu-Natal are set to benefit following yesterday’s announcement that the Ingonyama Trust is to start a process of issuing title deeds to people living on its land.

However, the process is expected to take years and will require “a huge amount of money” to complete.

The announcement was made by King ­Goodwill Zwelithini at the annual opening of the KZN House of Traditional Leaders at the old ­Legislative Assembly building in Ulundi.

The trust was established in 1994 to be the custodian of land that was previously administered by the KwaZulu government. It comprises 60% of the land in the province.

The king’s adviser and former chairperson of the trust board, Judge Jerome Ngwenya said there are over four million residences on Ingonyama Trust land.

The trust is currently responsible for managing about 2,8 million hectares of land in the province.

Trust land vests in the Ingonyama (translated as “the lion”, a title the king is known by) with the king as trustee on behalf of communities.

Residents living on trust land, mainly rural­ communities, had been living without title deeds.

However, in his address yesterday, the king ­announced the beginning of a process of issuing deeds to all those living on trust land.

“This process will be exclusively for land that is utilised for residential purposes, and in line with the country’s Constitution and all due procedures will be followed as the law spells them out,” he said.

Beneficiaries of the king’s announcement would include President Jacob Zuma, whose ­controversial R246 million Nkandla homestead is built on Ingonyama Trust land.

Last month, property expert Louis Kruger of Schindlers Attorneys told News24 that it was unlikely that a bond was registered against the homestead, as its rightful owner is the Ingonyama Trust.

The king also instructed all traditional leaders to work with government institutions to ensure that people living in rural communities were ­allocated physical addresses. “This is to ensure that residents are not deprived of any of their rights, to access government services, banking or even voting in elections,” he said.

Ngwenya said the process would require a huge amount of money and would take years to ­complete.

“On June 30 we will be consulting amakhosi because they are going to play a major role in this process. After that information-sharing with ­amakhosi, the board will need to design a policy,” he said.

The trust would then approach Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti.

“The minister will have to give guidelines and will also have to set aside a budget because this project will require a huge amount of money.

“We will need to do audits to make sure that people living on the land, are not illegal occupants.

“After all of that, which can take many years, we will have to do a land audit before generating title deeds,” he said.

The king also expressed his concern about the spate of violent protests plaguing certain parts of the province.

“Communities have to ensure that private and public property is never destroyed in protests, because it belongs to them. Churches, government buildings, roads, community halls and schools are all important structures that shape and build our communities. Violence is never an option when it comes to solving any dispute,” he said.

Political analyst Bheki Mngomezulu said he did not believe the king’s move was a ploy to gain voters in the upcoming local government ­elections.

Mngomezulu said “the king is a non-participant in the elections”.

“Since the recent complaints over the amount of money being spent on renovations at his ­palaces, I think the king may be trying to meet the people halfway,” he said.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  king goodwill zwelithini

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