Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has once again dug in his heels regarding the recommendation of a high-level panel appointed by Parliament to review legislation on land reform.
One of the recommendations made by the high-level panel, which was chaired by former president Kgalema Motlanthe, was that the Ingonyama Act, that was enacted just before the democratic elections in 1994, be repealed, News24 previously reported.
Zwelithini has previously sent veiled threats and made personal attacks on Motlanthe, among others, regarding this recommendation, saying it would not happen on his watch. He is the sole trustee of the Ingonyama Trust which administers more than 2.8 million hectares of land in KwaZulu-Natal under the Act.
According to a SABC report, Zwelithini told a large group of women during the Umkhosi Wesivivane in KwaNongoma, in the north of KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday that he was still waiting for a member of the high-level panel to talk about the matter with him directly. He maintained that the land “belonged” to the royal clan and said this would not change anytime soon.
“I want you to know that this land belongs to the current reigning King of AmaZulu [and] previous Kings and Queens and will not be taken from us. It will not die or be taken during my reign and your time. If we allow that, history will judge us harshly.”
Earlier in July, during an imbizo on land at the Ulundi Stadium in KwaZulu-Natal, speaking to eNCA, the trust’s chairperson Judge Jerome Ngwenya reiterated the fact that Motlanthe had not met with Zwelithini to discuss the matter.
“As you would appreciate, the former president never even met with the king about this matter… The king has not been told what is wrong. The people of this province who reside on this piece of land have never complained to the king. So what should the king negotiate with the former president for? Let alone the fact that he (the king) has invited him (Motlanthe) to meet, he has refused until now.”
During the same event, Zwelithini told the crowd gathered that, “Our kingdom is here to stay… and your land is going nowhere as long as I’m alive.”
News24 has previously reported that according to the report, the signing of the act by the previous apartheid regime’s Parliament three days before South Africa’s first democratic elections was primarily done to preserve the Zulu homeland.
However, it resulted in people living under the Umnini Trust being dispossessed and eventually being incorporated into the Ingonyama Trust. Motlanthe raised concern over those who were removed from their land now having to lease land.
“People who have lived there for generations must pay the Ingonyama Trust Board R1 000 rent which escalates yearly by 10%,” he said.
The former leader also lauded those who approached the high-level panel about their experiences in spite of being intimidated.
During one of his addresses, Zwelithini said he was aware there were “sellouts” among them, but that this would not change anything.
In his criticism of traditional leaders, Motlanthe previously said it was rare to find leaders who did not think they had a rightful claim to the land.
“What we heard from public hearings, with exception from the Eastern Cape… the only traditional leaders who understand they are the representatives of the people are traditional leaders of the Eastern Cape. Others call themselves beng mabu [owners of the land],” said Motlanthe.
The ANC resolved at its watershed 54th national elective congress in December to expropriate land without compensation.
Despite this, the party has been treading carefully on the matter saying the report was being interpreted as being “anti-Zulu monarch”.
During a visit to KwaZulu-Natal, President Cyril Ramaphosa also met with Zwelithini and assuredthe king that government would not touch land under the trust.