KZN govt stands with Zwelithini against threat to Ingonyama Trust

Premier Willies Mchunu says he would never allow role of traditional leaders on land issues to be undermined

KZN government stands with Zwelithini against recommendation to dissolve Ingonyama Trust

Pietermaritzburg - The KwaZulu-Natal government would "never" support any recommendation aimed at undermining the role of traditional leaders on land issues, Premier Willies Mchunu said on Wednesday.

Mchunu was reacting to a recommendations by a high-level panel that the Ingonyama Trust Act be repealed or amended and that the trust itself be dissolved.

The trust administers 2.8 million hectares of land on behalf of King Goodwill Zwelithini.

The recommendations were published in November 2017 along with findings in a report by the panel, appointed by the Speakers' Forum and headed by former president Kgalema Motlanthe. The panel was established to undertake an assessment of key legislation and the acceleration of fundamental change.

Mchunu said the report also made various findings about the fact that too many South Africans, in rural and urban areas, have insecure tenure to the property that they occupy.

"Although we're pleased with the progress that is being made with issuing of title deeds on new housing projects, we're still concerned about the fact that only 22% of the households in this province have title deeds to their properties," he said during the State of the Province Address in Pietermaritzburg.

R5 from each member of the Zulu nation

He said the provincial government would engage with the minister of rural development and land reform "to assist in finding solutions for these issues" as KwaZulu-Natal was deeply affected by the panel's findings.

"We're also committed to host a land summit in 2018 to engage relevant stakeholders and role players on matters of land management and land utilisation as it applies to our province," he said.

He told Zwelithini, who sat among other dignitaries, that the province would engage national government on the report's recommendations because he believed the matter was sensitive and had been handled "recklessly".

On Tuesday - during his address - Zwelithini said he had summoned the board of the Ingonyama Trust and instructed it to start putting together a team of lawyers and retired judges to take the matter to the Constitutional Court.

He said he wanted the dispute to be settled in 2018.

The king said he would open a bank account soon into which each member of the Zulu nation would contribute R5 to be used for the looming legal battle.