We will not take your land from you – Ramaphosa assures Zulu king

Cyril Ramaphosa
Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: Rogan Ward

President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini that the government will not expropriate land under the controversial Ingonyama Trust.

Ramaphosa‚ who was in KwaZulu-Natal for the launch of the ANC’s Thuma Mina campaign‚ met with King Goodwill and IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi in Richards Bay on Friday.

The meeting followed an imbizo of traditional leaders called by the Zulu monarch during which he warned of a clash of nations should the state make good on moves to dissolve the Ingonyama Trust Board and cede thousands of hectares of traditional land to the state.

King Zwelithini is the sole trustee of the Ingonyama Trust which administers 2.8-million hectares of land on his behalf.

But the High-Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and Fundamental Change has recommended that the Ingonyama Trust Act should be repealed or amended‚ and the Ingonyama Trust abolished.

However‚ the recommendation to scrap the Ingonyama Trust has put the ANC government on a collision course with King Zwelithini and Buthelezi who spearheaded the establishment of the trust as well as traditional leaders who have warned of a full-scale war should land under tribal authorities be expropriated.

King Zwelithini has the support of KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu who has vowed that the provincial government will not support any attempts to scrap the Ingonyama Trust.

The provincial government is holding a land summit this week to discuss‚ among other things‚ the Ingonyama Trust‚ land management and use.

Speaking in Groutville in KwaDukuza on Friday during the launch of the Thuma Mina campaign‚ Ramaphosa told thousands of ANC supporters that after this week’s imbizo he had decided to meet with the king.

“I told the king that we as the ANC government we have no intention whatsoever to even try to take the land under the Ingonyama Trust. I said to him that we have no such intention. The recommendation by the high-level panel is a recommendation of that panel. We as government‚ we have no intention to take land under Ingonyama Trust and we don’t even want the Ingonyama Trust to be cancelled‚” he said.

Ramaphosa said the Ingonyama Trust would remain.

“I assured the king that we will meet again. We had a good meeting and Umntwana WakwaPhindangene [Buthelezi] was also there in that meeting‚” he said.

Ramaphosa said the expropriation of land without compensation was not targeted at the 13% of land that was under traditional leaders and that the government was not going to touch that land.

“That land is going to continue to be under the control of traditional leaders because they hold that land on behalf of our people and they know that the land they hold [is held] in custody for the communities. The land that we are going to target for expropriation is the 87% of the land.”

However‚ Ramaphosa said this would be done within the confines of the law and the constitution and “as orderly as possible”.

He said as per the resolution of the ANC taken at its elective conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg in December‚ the expropriation of land without compensation would take into account the position of the country’s economy‚ agricultural production and food security.

Ramaphosa said he had set up an interministerial committee‚ headed by Deputy President David Mabuza‚ which was going to look into this matter and that he was going to appoint a task team which would advise the government on how to deal with returning land to the people.

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