King Goodwill Zwelithini says that if the Ingonyama Trust Act is affected by government’s plan to expropriate land without compensation, he will fight to have KwaZulu-Natal declared a separate Zulu homeland.
Speaking at a rally in Zulu in a video filmed by eNCA, Zwelithini said: “We must not be provoked. There is no need for the Zulus to be abused by their Treasury, because that will force me – and the world will agree with me – when I declare that I want me and my nation to live on our own and develop on our own, because in South Africa development is selective.”
eNCA reported that in the same speech, the king suggested that “perhaps the time has come for KZN borders to be closed and for him to run his own province”. For this to happen KZN would have to secede from South Africa.
“I promise you I will not allow anyone to take away the life and soul of the Zulu nation. I warned Mr Ramaphosa – as the governing party, they must not make the mistake of taking away the land of the Zulus because all hell will break loose,” Zwelithini threatened.
The king has called an imbizo with traditional leaders and other constituencies in Ulundi on Wednesday to discuss the alleged illegal sale of land on the KZN south coast.
Government’s plan to expropriate land without compensation has led to conflict with the king, who believes it is a threat to the sovereignty of land held under traditional authority.
The Ingonyama Trust is a corporate body established in law and is the registered owner of about 60% of land in KwaZulu-Natal, which has always historically been part of the Zulu Kingdom. It is currently responsible for the administration of communal land in the province on behalf of the Zulu Kingdom, but the Land Expropriation Act could change that.
In November 2017, a panel led by former president Kgalema Motlanthe came to the conclusion that the trust should be dissolved.
The king has voiced strong disapproval of the act.
In a statement released on Sunday, he said: “The issue of land is a very sensitive one for the Zulu people as it is more than just about land. It is about food security, housing and political economy, among others, and it is for this reason that Zulus will not be pedestrians that will sit and watch while major decisions about their ancestral land are made.”
People on social media have suggested the king has been using the trust to live large and is now calling on Zulu people who have not been benefiting from it to defend his interests.
The Citizen reported in March that the Zulu monarch asked “legitimate” Zulus to donate R5 or more for a legal battle if parliament repeals the Ingonyama Trust Act.
Last week he raised the requested donation from R5 to “at least R15” to cover bank charges.
Zwelithini allegedly opened more bank accounts so that his subjects could deposit their donations to help mount a legal challenge to the Land Expropriation Act’s attempts to take away land belonging to his tribe, which is under the Ingonyama Trust.
Initially, the king opened a bank account for this purpose with Absa bank.
The king’s spokesperson, Thulani Zulu, on Friday said: “We are in a process of opening more accounts in other banks”.
When asked how much money the king planned to raise, Zulu said it was difficult to say because the costs would depend on how long the case would take to complete.