The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) has accused the Ingonyama Trust of acting in an unlawful manner for allegedly cancelling land ownership agreements, forcing residents to enter into 40-year lease agreements.

CASAC and other pressure groups this week filed an application at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in KwaZulu-Natal, challenging the conversion of informal land rights to long term lease agreements by the Trust.

It’s been reported also that the trust is also dispossessing women landowners seeking them to apply for land ownership using men as their proxy.

CASAC’s Executive Secretary, Lawson Naidoo says the actions of the Ingonyama Trust have resulted in the severe weakening of land rights that are currently held by people that occupy land that’s in the custody of the Trust.

He says: “The actions taken to convert permissions to occupy and lease the agreements fly foul of Section 25 of the constitution and that is breach of the constitutional provisions. This has been raised in parliament in the portfolio committee on land and that committee requested the trust to desist from converting ownership to lease agreements but the trust has ignored parliament. We have no option but to seek redress there because the Ingonyama Trust is acting in an unlawful manner.”

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini is at the forefront of facing court action in CASAC’s bid to stop him from forcing occupiers of land to pay rent of between R1 500 and R7 000 per month.

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