KZN traditional leaders to head to court over 'Zulu land'

2018-07-04 17:40
King Goodwill Zwelithini (City Press)

King Goodwill Zwelithini (City Press)

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Traditional leaders in KwaZulu-Natal have resolved to approach the courts for clarity on the powers of the Zulu king and the government in terms of land.

This, as traditional leaders met at a special imbizo, called by King Goodwill Zwelithini in Ulundi on Wednesday, to discuss the way forward if the government expropriates the land administered by the Ingonyama Trust in the province.

The trust administers 2.8 million hectares of land on behalf of Zwelithini.

Zwelithini's call came after a high-level panel, led by former president Kgalema Motlanthe, recommended that the Ingonyama Trust Act be repealed or amended and that the trust itself be dissolved.

Traditional leaders previously said they were "ready to die" for the land, which they say belongs to Zulus.

They suggested that Zwelithini keep the land under his trust. Instead, the government should expropriate the majority of land that was still controlled by whites.

Traditional prime minister to the Zulu nation Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi said Zwelithini called a meeting between Amakhosi and the trust's board on June 11 to find a way forward on the land matter.

"It was resolved that we will approach the courts to challenge the panel's report, as well as sections of the KwaZulu-Natal Traditional Leadership Act of 2005. The court must clarify the powers of the king and specifically who has authority between the king and government," said Buthelezi.

'Our nation deserves answers'

He said Zwelithini also wanted to meet President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss the land issue.

"We want government to meet eye to eye with the Zulu nation to tell us about their land reform plans. The people of KZN have expressed discontent over plans to expropriate communal land. The Ingonyama Trust Board is against it. The Provincial House of Traditional Leaders is against it," he said.

He said uncertainty would remain until Ramaphosa spoke to them.

"Our nation deserves answers. We deserve at least that level of respect," said Buthelezi.

Thandokwazi Mncube, a traditional leader from Nkandla, said the Zulu nation did not fight with colonisers for the government to rule the country, "but for the Zulu nation to rule".

Another traditional leader, who did not want to be named, said, "Zulu warriors died because of this land. We're against the land being taken away from traditional leaders. The land in KwaZulu-Natal belongs to the Zulus. If they take the land away from us, who will own it?"

RET Champion's Nkosentsha Shezi said the province should only be called KwaZulu.

"We don't know who Natal is," he said.

He said the trust should not be dissolved - instead "100% of land in KZN should be transferred to the trust".

Umkhonto weSizwe's Carl Niehaus said: "Why are we trying to discuss what must happen to the land under the Ingonyama Trust when 70% of land still belongs to whites? Let's talk about the land that was stolen by colonialists."

Niehaus said a decision was not taken with regard to the trust at the recent ANC summit on land redistribution.

Read more on:    goodwill zwelithini  |  land expropriation  |  land hearings  |  land

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