Amakhosi must drive mining initiatives on tribal land – King Zwelithini

2015-08-26 19:56
King Goodwill Zwelithini. Picture: Tebogo Letsie

King Goodwill Zwelithini. Picture: Tebogo Letsie

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King Goodwill Zwelithini wants KwaZulu-Natal’s traditional leaders to drive a mining boom in rural parts of the province under the control of the Ingonyama Trust Board. 

The monarch wants them to work with mining companies to ensure that communities on tribal land, which the Trust administers, benefit from the rush by mining companies to exploit the substantial deposits of coal, iron ore and other minerals found throughout northern KwaZulu-Natal. 

King Zwelithini this morning outlined his vision for mining as a driver of rural development through job creation at a two-day conference convened by the ITB at Richards Bay on the north coast in an hour-long address to an audience consisting of traditional leaders, mining houses, government officials and representatives of communities affected by mining. 

The ITB, created as part of the package of compromises which secured the participation of the monarch and the IFP, administers some 2.8 million hectares of land in KwaZulu-Natal on behalf of the king and rural communities.

The ITB Act effectively prevented people living on land which had been part of the KwaZulu homeland from having individual land tenure, with the Trust administering this on their behalf and on that of the king.

The ITB has also provided the logistical and technical back-up for a proposed consolidated land claim on behalf of dispossessed communities by the king, lobbying the traditional leaders to convince communities to abandon individual claims in favour of his initiative. 

King Zwelithini presented a history of mining in South Africa, arguing that colonialism had seen the practice change from one which benefitted communities to one which enriched foreign powers – and later multinational corporations – with any benefit to the people living on the land being “accidental” and in the form of “slave wages”. 

Rural development, he said, had been focused on “tilling of the soil’’ rather than ensuring that the rural communities whose land would be host to mining operations would be beneficiaries. He proposed a shift towards the traditional leaders working with their communities and the mining companies and becoming part of the “structure’’ of the mining industry. 

The king said amakhosi (traditional leaders) should “be the drivers of mining in rural development’’ and needed to be trained in various fields around the industry to ensure that they could play this role. 

King Zwelithini said he hoped that the conference would come up with a formula, which would allow minerals to be exploited in a way in which jobs were created for communities without massive environmental damage taking place. 

The second day will see inputs from community organisations, the chiefs themselves and the mining sector.

Read more on:    king goodwill zwelithini  |  mining

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