Ingonyama Trust land leases under fire

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King Goodwill Zwelithini ultimately controls large swathes of land in KwaZulu-Natal via the Ingonyama Trust, to which people living on it pay rent.
King Goodwill Zwelithini ultimately controls large swathes of land in KwaZulu-Natal via the Ingonyama Trust, to which people living on it pay rent.

Residents having to pay rental to King Goodwill Zwelithini’s Ingonyama Trust to continue living on the land “is a revenue generation scheme for the trust to raise money”, it was argued in the Pietermaritzburg high court on Wednesday.

Rental income the trust earned from lease agreements increased in 2016/2017 to R106 829 817, said advocate Thembeka Ngcukaitobi, SC. He added that in 2018, it was disclosed to Parliament that the trust leased out a total of 6 816 771 hectares of land.

The long-awaited case — brought by the Legal Resources Centre on behalf of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Ca­sac), the Rural Women’s Movement (RWM) and seven informal land rights holders — is to challenge the compulsory signing of lease agreements at the behest of the Ingonyama Trust Board.

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