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Zulu king wants more assurances on land

The Zulu king has called for further guarantees from the government that the land belonging to the Ingonyama Trust will not be expropriated according to IOL.

King Goodwill Zwelithini said in his annual Shaka Day speech that he wanted President Cyril Ramaphosa to visit him again to again promise not to touch Zulu land.

The king’s worries are born of the report titled “High-level panel on the assessment of key legislation and the acceleration of fundamental change”, which was chaired by former president Kgalema Motlanthe.

The report recommended that the Ingonyama Trust be broken up and the people living on it be given title deeds.

According to the Daily Maverick the former president spoke about the report on Friday, and went into how the trust came to be.

According to Motlanthe, in 1994 Kosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi wanted South Africa to be a federal state and thus maintain the KwaZulu homeland.

He’d lost that argument, but on 23 April an agreement was reached with the old parliament in Cape Town, which put all of the land in the homeland into the Ingonyama Trust, with Zwelithini as the only trustee.

The act that did this also included some land that was never part of the homeland.

Now the result of this is that for years people have had to lease their land from the trust, with its board getting about R96 million a year, with the traditional leaders not wanting to account for any of it, as it is their ‘slush fund’.

In 2017 according to Business Tech, the Zulu king complained that his R1 million a year salary and R60 million budget was not enough.

According to that report, the king’s claims of poverty were dismissed as fabrications, and reports before parliament showed he had received R550 million from the government over the past 10 years.

My Take

We have people living in shacks. We have people who have no fixed address and thus cannot provide proof of address to do something as simple as opening a bank account.

We have a man who owns vast tracts of land, receives a million rand a year salary from the government for being born into the right family, who complains that he’s poor.

And we’re supposed to side with this guy in order to support some nebulous concept of culture. I’m generally against culture, including my own, because it relies on tradition to get people to accept things they otherwise wouldn’t.

Culture stops sounding so good when you get to the specifics. Here is the choice being offered in this case, stripped of all emotion: You can have your own piece of land, or you can pay someone else rent for that land. What would you prefer?

Culture tells you to pay the rent, ditching culture tells you that if you want support the Zulu king you can do it if you want, but he cannot force you to do it.

Which sounds better?

Of course this isn’t the only concern. The ANC is incredibly incompetent and corrupt, simply running for a council seat in KwaZulu Natal is a dangerous game, so if they adopted Motlanthe’s suggested framework, I’m not sure they’re capable of running it cleanly.

What is offered on paper, and what happens in reality aren’t always related so far as the ANC is concerned.

That said, in principle, it doesn’t look like the king’s offering a great deal to the Zulus here.

  • Picture courtesy of South African Tourism via Flickr.
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