Afrikaner rights group AfriForum and Solidarity met with Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini on Thursday and agreed to work together on issues of social importance.
CEO of AfriForum Kallie Kriel said this decision was made during their meeting with Zwelithini and his lawyer Jerome Ngwenya, the chairperson of the king’s Ingonyama Trust.
The king is the trust’s sole trustee.
The meeting took place at Zwelithini’s Enyokeni royal residence near Nongoma in KwaZulu-Natal.
Kriel said that recorded history between Zulus and Afrikaners was old and well documented, and examples could be found of both positive cooperation and conflict between the two groups.
He said that it was important for him that Afrikaners who are members of AfriForum and Solidarity re-establish and expand opportunities for positive cooperation on a “foundation of mutual respect and recognition”.
Several points of mutual interest, Kriel said, were identified between the king and AfriForum.
These included the need for a good relationship among different cultural groups in the country based on mutual recognition and respect; a mutual concern about property expropriation without compensation; and the need for cooperation to build the local economy to benefit everyone in the community.
“AfriForum and the Zulu king agreed to establish a mutual task team to carry out this cooperation,” added Kriel.
The king and other traditional leaders have made headlines this month after Zwelithini threatened at the start of July that he would secede the land currently under his control through the Ingonyama Trust (about 30% of KwaZulu-Natal) if government continued with its plans to abolish the laws that give him control over the former Zulu homeland.
The EFF also had to make concessions to traditional leaders’ body Contralesa that they would rethink their policy of total expropriation of land, including of that already under the control of black people, particularly chiefs and kings. They also agreed to cooperate and continue with mutual task teams and dialogue.
Then, in the wake of Zwelithini’s unhappiness at the recommendations of a parliamentary high-level panel that recommended that people in rural KwaZulu-Natal should be given title deeds and the laws around the Ingonyama Trust be done away with, President Cyril Ramaphosa personally travelled to see the king to reassure him that this would not happen.
Many analysts interpreted this as a sign that the ANC may be concerned about losing support in rural KwaZulu-Natal.
However, another analyst said yesterday that the ANC is likely to lose significant support in the province anyway.