Walking on eggshells, Ramaphosa says govt won’t dissolve Ingonyama Trust

JOHANNESBURG — President Cyril Ramaphosa is going into damage-control mode by trying to placate the Zulu King, Mr Goodwill Zwelithini, over this weekend. The Zulu King is the sole trustee of the Ingonyama Trust, which owns almost 30% of all land in KwaZulu-Natal. The Trust has been criticised for making Zwelithini the chief landlord while his subjects don’t own title deeds, leaving them economically powerless with no assets, perpetuating poverty. It’s an outdated mechanism that was birthed just before the dawn of democracy. And if the ANC was serious about unlocking economic opportunities around land reform and modernising the state, it would take the advice of former President Kgalema Motlanthe on board and dissolve the Ingonyama Trust. Instead, Zwelithini riled up nationalist talk earlier this week at a land imbizo where he talked about how the Zulu nation should secede from South Africa if government touches the Trust and that foreigners should be driven out. He also hit out at Motlanthe’s rational request. In the meantime, people like Ramaphosa and Zweli Mkhize have publicly said the Trust will be left untouched. – Gareth van Zyl

By Amogelang Mbatha

Bloomberg) – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will meet the Zulu nation’s monarch to ally the king’s fears that the state plans to dissolve a trust – of which he is the sole trustee – that holds all the land that belongs to his kingdom.

King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu

The country “has no intention” to dissolve the Ingonyama Trust, Ramaphosa said in Pretoria Friday.

King Goodwill Zwelithini on Wednesday sounded a warning about potential clashes if the government dissolves the trust – which accounts for about 60 percent of KwaZulu-Natal province, a region larger than Hungary. The government is considering legislation to repeal the trust and cede the land to the state, which traditional leaders are against, Business Day newspaper reported Thursday, citing Zwelithini. Established in 1994, the trust is required to ensure it’s used for the benefit of local communities.

South Africa’s cabinet appointed a team of ministers to interact with traditional leaders to seek an “amicable solution” to their areas of concern about land issues, Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said Thursday.

The draft Communal Land Tenure Bill before parliament will enforce individual rights and not leave control to traditional leaders. This could make it easier for million of citizens to secure land tenure and for some of the nation’s poorest people to pass on property to their children, or to get mortgages against the land.

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