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ANC in KZN throws its hat in with the crown to accelerate rural development

ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary Bheki Mtolo. File photo.
ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary Bheki Mtolo. File photo.
Image: Nqubeko Mbele

ANC KwaZulu-Natal officials have met members of the Ingonyama Trust board after the king promised to use the trust to champion rural development.

At his coronation King Misuzulu kaZwelithini said he endorsed the Trust Rural Development Forum started by his late father King Goodwill Zwelithini and committed to work with it to develop rural communities through the trust.

Provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo on Tuesday said the meetings, which included trust board chair Jerome Ngwenya, were fruitful.

Ingonyama's sole trustee is the king, who owns about a third of KZN's land. It is predominantly rural and includes areas in which high levels of poverty prevail. There are also vast tracts in semiurban areas.

"The ANC believes it is imperative to channel new development opportunities to these relatively underdeveloped areas by opening access to land for development and to support rural and township communities to become active partners in the development of their land," Mtolo said.

The provincial secretary said towns and townships located on land controlled by the trust needed municipalities and the board to align plans and fulfil mandates and responsibilities laid down in law for the benefit of communities.

"In the meeting ... it was agreed legal processes should be speeded up to ensure identified land is handed over to municipalities for development.

"Part of the agreement is also to resolve obstructions to the passing of freehold land ownership to persons in former black townships," Mtolo said.

He added that this would substantially increase the value of such properties and provide owners with collateral. It would also assist many previously disadvantaged occupants to become active role players in the property market and economy.

The ANC and the board's focus, according to Mtolo, was to ensure the close to 3.3-million hectares of communally owned land was protected in a manner that would not impede access to it for economic development purposes, nor in a manner that would prevent occupants thereof to gain the full benefit of this valuable asset.

"The PEC [provincial executive committee] also welcomed the resolution that the work of government departments, their agencies and the trust board is streamlined.

"This will help create certainty for potential investors who must partner with local communities for ... development. It should not be more complicated to do business in our province than it is in other provinces," said Mtolo.

He said the PEC hoped the ANC-led government and the board would proceed with formalising planning and promoting security of tenure in key rural service development nodes such as Manguzi, Jozini, Hlabisa, Tugela Ferry, Dududu, King Cetshwayo, uThukela, Mbumbulu, KwaMashu and many others.

"Critically, the PEC welcomed plans and efforts to encourage discussions between municipalities and the Ingonyama Trust board. These must be held on a regular and structured basis to facilitate rural and township development, and resolve matters of rates and levies."

TimesLIVE

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