The chairperson of the Ingonyama Trust Board – Judge Jerome Ngwenya – says they will not be supporting the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution. Judge Ngwenya was addressing a lekgotla of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Durban.

Section 25 of the Constitution stipulates that property may not be expropriated unless it is done according to law. IFP leader, inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, was one of the traditional leaders who attended the lekgotla.

Traditional leaders in the country have fired salvos at government and demanded that it keep its hands off their land. They voiced their concerns during a lekgotla in Durban.

In February, Parliament adopted a motion which sought the possible amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution which deals with land and property ownership. Addressing the gathering, chairperson of the Ingonyama Trust Board – Judge Jerome Ngwenya – says they will not be supporting the amendment of Section 25.

“By definition the section 25 clause was provided in the constitution to protect people, the strong and the weak once you open up that section of the Constitution there is a huge risk especially on the people that occupy Ingonyama Trust land as you know the debate currently is that Ingonyama Trust must be disestablished and the land to be given to the state and that itself constitute expropriation for us therefore to support the possibility of the land being expropriated the most vulnerable people will be highly irresponsible I think it still too premature to go along the expropriation root when restitution process is as yet to be completed.”

IFP leader inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi says the authority of traditional leaders is currently being questioned. Buthelezi lambasted the chairperson of the high level group that assessed current legislation – Kgalema Motlanthe.

The group recommended the disestablishment of the Ingonyama Trust Board, which administers vast tracts of land in KwaZulu-Natal.

Buthelezi explains, “As chair of the high level of assessment and legislation and acceleration of fundamental change, Mr Motlanthe openly called for land administered by traditional leaders to be taken away and be placed under ownership of government. In fact, he requested land expropriation without compensation with land of traditional communities. He published the recommendation to scrap Ingonyama Trust Act – simple express the policy decision taken by the ANC at its 5th Policy Conference.

“The authority of the traditional leaders is being questioned. The Act maintains on the Indigenous and Customary Law those few pieces of land remained with the Zulu Kingdom following centuries of colonialism and dispossession it is one of the few legal construct that the traditional leadership is afforded its rightful authority. If government can scrap this act and expropriate land administered by traditional leaders we should not be surprised if next year there is dis-empowerment of traditional authorities,” Buthelezi said.

Ordinary people living on the land administered by the Ingonyama Trust in KwaZulu-Natal say they do not want their land taken by government.

The Ingonyama Trust says should the process go ahead, it must be independent of government. They say government has already shown bias in the matter.