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King calls on Zulus to rise over land

King Goodwill Zwelithini and former president Jacob Zuma
King Goodwill Zwelithini and former president Jacob Zuma
Image: Jackie Clausen

The king has also vowed that Zulus will never allow that their land be taken away from them and they will be prepared to die over this issue.

"Land cannot be removed from the traditional leadership. In fact‚ the land is like the soul of the body of traditional leadership. We will never allow‚ not for one day‚ that we be killed by taking our soul.

"Just like Jerusalem is important to Israel and Palestine‚ and just like Mecca is important to the Muslims‚ the land under Ingonyama Trust is also important to us‚" said the king.

His comments come after a high-level panel headed by former president Kgalema Mothlanthe proposed the disbandment of the trust.

Delivering a keynote address at the official opening of the fifth KwaZulu-Natal legislature at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday‚ Zwelithini became emotional about the panel's proposal.

The monarch said he would soon be opening accounts with all four major banks in the country as well Capitec and Ithala and he implored all Zulus to contribute R5 or more for the fight for their land not to be taken away.

"Those who like their king or their land can donate even more. But what I am here to say as I am announcing this‚ is that Vuka Zulu (rise Zulus)."

He said the issue of land must be resolved once and for all in 2018 because if that was not done‚ even" Zulus from Germany or the US will come back and fight for their land".

"But let's not reach that stage‚" he said.

He said he was happy that the panel's report was still going to be debated in Parliament.

Zwelithini said he had mandated the Ingonyama Trust Board to assemble a team of retired judges to tackle the issue of land on his behalf.

"For now‚ I am taking the legal route on this issue with the hope that those who want our land to be taken away follow the law. But following the law is not a sign of cowardice."

Without mentioning Zuma by name‚ the king said he wondered if he was also part of the panel's process. Zuma's controversial R246-million Nkandla home is also on tribal land under the Ingonyama Trust.

The king said he had also advised President Cyril Ramaphosa during his visit to the Osuthu Royal Palace in Nongoma after the ANC's elective conference in December to inform the party’s newly-elected top six leaders about sensitivities around the issue of land.

"It's our fathers and mothers because that's where we are buried with our family members‚" said Zwelithini.

He said there were people who had structures on land under the Ingonyama Trust who would not allow them to be removed and who would die if they were removed.

He said a mass meeting of all Zulu headmen would be convened next month to discuss the issue.

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