King Zwelithini joins forces with AfriForum

Jerome Ngwenya, Kallie Kriel, King Goodwill Zwelithini and Flip Buys. Picture: AfriForum

In the name of food security and opposing land expropriation, the Zulu monarch has joined forces with an unlikely ally.

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has announced a partnership with minority representatives AfriForum, reportedly due to their mutual hatred for land expropriation without compensation, reports eNCA.

The cooperation was also reported to be in line with ensuring food security and promote agriculture for South Africa.

ALSO READ: Zwelithini demands guarantees from Ramaphosa on land reform

King Zwelithini announced the developments at the UMkhosi weLembe, or King Shaka Day, celebrations.

Expressing the woes of food shortages in the country, the king invited talks with AfriForum and farmers, who he said have approached him and are willing to work with him to uplift agricultural practices in the country.

He also said that once the government started talking about land expropriation, “Boers downed tools,” which means that there will be no food, he explained.

King Zwelithini is still reportedly waiting to discuss land falling under the Ingonyama Trust with President Cyril Ramaphosa, which holds land for the benefit and material welfare of the people. The king wants his territories to be exempt from land reform. The trust owns about 29.67% of mostly deep rural land in KwaZulu-Natal, which covers an area of 94,361 km². While Zwelithini is the sole trustee of the land, it is divided according to clans and overseen by traditional leaders.

He also emphasised that he does not benefit financially from the trust.

Speculation is rife that the Zulu monarch is using the issue of land expropriation to influence upcoming election outcomes and to send a clear message to the government of his disapproval of land reform in the country.

AfriForum and Solidarity first met with Zwelithini in July to agree 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 had made headlines that 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 the ANC is likely to lose significant support in the province anyway.

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