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IFP denies Ingonyama Trust was part of a secret pre-election deal

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has denied allegations in the Mail & Guardian that the Ingonyama Trust Act, which preserves the land of rural people in KwaZulu-Natal, was part of a deal to get his party to take part in the 1994 elections.

The IFP’s decision to participate in the 1994 elections had nothing to do with the passing of the Ingonyama Trust Act,” Buthelezi was quoted as saying in the publication.

Land transfer “was never part of the negotiations”, he said, adding that “the IFP had already agreed to participate in the 1994 elections” by the time the act was passed.

 “When it comes to the record of South Africa’s history, a great deal of what is in the public domain is unfortunately inaccurate, marred as the record is by years of deliberate propaganda,” said Buthelezi.

The M&G reported that the trust was established to preserve the province’s millions of hectares of homelands, with the Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, as its trustee, in return for the IFP not boycotting the elections.

The publication detailed allegations of secret meetings on airport runways and in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, and questioned how the province was able to retain a homeland while other provinces had come under the authority of the national government.

Power over land meant power over the people who lived on it. By giving the king control over it, the trust enjoyed authority, no matter the outcome of the election.

In recent years, the Ingonyama Trust has attracted criticism for enriching the king and pushing people off the land to make way for more lucrative leases. Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s advisory panel recommended the Ingonyama Trust Act be repealed or amended. - TimesLIVE

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