The ANC has shared a video of President Cyril Ramaphosa explaining that part of his Thuma Mina elections campaign trip to KwaZulu-Natal has involved a meeting with Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini to reassure him that he need not leave South Africa and set up his own Zulu homeland with his people.
Ramaphosa said he met with Zwelithini on Friday night to discuss a “range of issues”, primarily that neither the ANC nor government wishes to take the Ingonyama Trust land.
Analysts have said the EFF has cosied up to traditional leaders after sensing an opportunity to win their support in the wake of unhappiness with the ANC. The EFF and Contralesa (traditional leaders’ national organisation) held a joint press conference on Thursday to announce that they shared the view that land should be expropriated without compensation, though Contralesa insisted that the EFF should concentrate only on “white-owned land” that was allegedly stolen.
The king was in a bellicose mood earlier this week after a high-level panel headed by former president Kgalema Motlanthe recommended to parliament that the best thing for the people of the province would be if the Ingonyama Trust were dissolved and title deeds given to rural people.
The king effectively owns 30% of the province through being the Ingonyama Trust’s sole trustee.
Government on Friday announced that “a wrong impression” was created that the discussion on land expropriation included land in the hands of traditional leaders.
“Government wishes to clarify categorically that when government talks about land expropriation, we are referring to the 87 percent of the land, not the 13 percent that is under the control of traditional leaders and black people. We wish to emphasise that the 13 percent of the land is not under any dispute,” said Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Zweli Mkhize.
In the statement, Mkhize said government noted the “serious concerns raised by traditional leaders with respect to the report of the High-Level Panel appointed by Parliament on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change, led by former president Kgalema Motlanthe”.
“Government would like to emphasise that the views expressed in that report are not those of government or the governing party but those of the panel,” said Mkhize.
On Wednesday, the Zulu king told scores of loyal supporters that they must not allow themselves to be further provoked by the proposed scrapping or amendment of the controversial Ingonyama Trust Act.
King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu — speaking in isiZulu before a crowd of close on 4000 people at a sports stadium in Ulundi at a land imbizo that he had called — said the Zulu nation inherited the land from their ancestors and any attempt to strip them of their ownership would be an insult to the ancestors.
The Ingonyama Trust Act was pushed through on the eve of the 1994 elections to secure the involvement of the Inkatha Freedom Party in the country’s first democratic election.
Zwelithini said a new regiment, known as Ingaba, would be established to ‘defend’ the Ingonyama Trust.
The future of the trust has come under intense public scrutiny since the release in November last year of a report titled the “High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change”. Chaired by Motlanthe, the panel recommended that “the Ingonyama Trust Act be repealed, or substantially amended, to protect existing customary land rights”. Motlanthe alienated traditional leaders by calling them “village tin-pot dictators”.
In the statement on Friday, Cogta said Mkhize called for input from the traditional leaders on the unfolding debates around the issues of land ownership and expropriation without compensation.
Mkhize and the rest of the ministerial task team, appointed by Cabinet to engage traditional leaders on the land expropriation issue, met with the leadership of the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) and leaders of provincial houses in Pretoria on Friday.