Ingonyama Trust matter will be handled at 'presidential level' – Mabuza tells Zwelithini

Deputy President David Mabuza (Amanda Khoza, News24)
Deputy President David Mabuza (Amanda Khoza, News24)
amanda khoza

Durban – King Goodwill Zwelithini's concerns over the high-level panel's recommendations that the Ingonyama Trust Act be repealed or amended would be discussed at presidential level, Deputy President David Mabuza assured the king on Thursday.

A November 2017 report by the panel – headed by former president Kgalema Motlanthe – also recommended that the trust be dissolved.

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

Mabuza was speaking in Durban during a meeting between government officials and traditional leaders.

The meeting was aimed at discussing the role of traditional leaders in the fight against TB.

"I heard you speak about your concerns from afar and picked up that you were not well. I said I'll get an opportunity and come. We will talk about that matter and sort it out, don't worry," Mabuza promised King Zwelithini.

During the official opening in February of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, King Zwelithini announced that he had summoned the Ingonyama Trust board to organise a team of lawyers and retired judges to prepare to take the issue to the Constitutional Court.

Foreseeing danger

He said he would open a bank account where each member of the Zulu nation would contribute R5, or more, to cover legal costs if the matter indeed ended up in court.

The king said he wanted the matter to be resolved in 2018.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu told the king that Mabuza had earlier on Thursday told him that it was his view that the land issue should be dealt with at presidential level.

"He viewed the issue as a matter that should be discussed at a top level. He said the president (Cyril Ramaphosa) and him should discuss the matter, including other relevant stakeholders who foresee the danger that it might create if it was not handled by government. I was very encouraged by the deputy president's words," said Mchunu.

During his State of the Province Address, Mchunu announced that the KwaZulu-Natal government would "never" support any recommendation aimed at undermining the role of traditional leaders on land issues.

He was reacting to the findings of the high-level panel's report.

The panel was appointed by the speakers' forum to undertake an assessment of key legislation and the acceleration of fundamental change.

Mchunu has previously said the provincial government would engage with the minister of rural development and land reform as KwaZulu-Natal "was deeply affected by the panel's findings and to assist in finding a solution for these issues".

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