Traditional leaders clash over state’s decision to exclude land under chiefs’ control from expropriation

Traditional leadership groups are at loggerheads on the land debate.
Land Traditional leadership groups are at loggerheads on the land debate.
Image: Adrian de Kock

The National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) has denounced the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA's (Contralesa) stance that all land be transferred to government through land expropriation of land without compensation as "unfortunate".

This was said by NHTL chairman Inkosi Sipho Mahlangu on the sidelines of the press briefing after the House's meeting on Friday with the inter-ministerial task team set up to discuss the land question with traditional leaders.

Mahlangu and the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs‚ Zweli Mkhize‚ announced that it was agreed that 13% of South African land under the control of traditional leaders‚ including the Ingonyama Trust of the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini‚ will not be affected by land expropriation without compensation.

Yet Contralesa announced on Friday that it agreed with the Economic Freedom Fighters that all land be transferred to the government if expropriation without compensation is implemented.

Mahlangu said Contralesa was out of order.

"One of the resolutions we took with Contralesa was that the 13% of the land must be transferred back to traditional leadership but the statement from Contralesa that we heard was that all land be transferred back to government does not talk to the agreement and resolution we took with them at a lekgotla in June‚" said Mahlangu.

"Contralesa is an NGO. We [are] the National House that is part of government. We think what Contralesa said is an unfortunate statement because when we were in the lekgotla in Durban we took a resolution about the 13% and Contralesa was there and agreed.

"This issue that it must be government that is a trustee of all land are the complaints that traditional leaders have been having because that is what the apartheid government was. So if government continues to be the trustee‚ at what stage are we going to‚ as traditional leaders‚ have the responsibility to govern our own communities?"

Mkhize said on Friday that traditional leaders also want chapters 7 and 12 of the Constitution to be amended. Chapter 7 deals with local government and Chapter 12 with the role of traditional leaders.

The chairman of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders‚ Mwelo Nonkonyana‚ said this would give chiefs "powers and functions and must happen before elections next year".

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