The King of AmaZulu Goodwill Zwelithini has called on his subjects to stand up and defend their land. His majesty also warned political parties not to take voters for granted and continue exploiting them.
He was addressing AmaZulu at an Imbizo at Ulundi in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Thousands of people attended an Imbizo called by the King at Ulundi in the north of the province.
Parliament’s High Level Panel led by former President Kgalema Montlante recommended that the Ingonyama Trust whose sole trustee is the King be dissolved.
Over 3 million hectares of land in KwaZulu-Natal falls under the trust. AmaZulu converged in Ulundi to get a cue from the King on the way forward on the land issue, and especially on the Ingonyama Trust.
Speaker after speaker condemned the proposal to scrap the trust which controls millions of hectares of land in rural parts of the province.
The king reiterated he would not allow government to take his land away. He strongly warned those suggesting that he lose his land. He also promised to take the Ingonyama Trust issue to the highest court in the land if need be.
The Ingonyama Trust Act of 1994 allows amakhosi to hold all land previously owned by, or belonging to, the KwaZulu Government, in the name of the Ingonyama Trust. The trust is headed by King Goodwill Zwelithini.
The land debate continues to be a burning issue for many residing in areas under traditional leaders.
Ordinary people – including women – were given a chance to air their views.
“We do not want government to take our land, because we are not going to afford rates like people in urban areas. We are using our land to feed our children,” says one participant.
MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus told the gathering that the ANC had not yet taken any decision on the recommendations made by the group led by former President Motlanthe.
“Let me first apologise for the remarks made by former President Motlanthe. He delivered the recommendations but the ANC has not taken any resolution about the land under traditional leaders.”
Ingonyama Trust Board chairperson judge Jerome Ngwenya says they will be taking the fight to scrap the board to the highest court in the land.
“We have done nothing wrong in the past 20 years in existence. We have not mismanaged any funds but there are people who see it fit to call for the disbandment of the board.”
King Goodwill Zwelithini did not mince his words addressing the Imbizo. He called on politicians to respect traditional leaders.
Translation: “Politicians need not to interfere with the land under traditional leaders… I am not scared of those continuously challenging me.” The King of AmaZulu reiterated that he will not give government the land his forefathers fought for.
The King of the amaZulu also questioned the ability of police intelligence. He referred to the torching of several trucks at Mooi River in the Midlands earlier this year, allegedly by unhappy local truck drivers, demanding employment. He says intelligence services should have been able to pick up the planned protest.
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