Thousands of King Goodwill Zwelithini's subjects gathered in Ulundi on Wednesday for an Umbizo convened by the king. Top of the agenda on the imbizo is the issue of communal land.Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban -  Thousands of people descended on Ulundi on Wednesday for an inaugural imbizo called by King Goodwill Zwelithini on the contentious issue on plans to repeal the Ingonyama Trust which administers all communal land in KwaZulu-Natal on behalf the King.

The imbizo was in response to a high-level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and Fundamental Change led by former president, Kgalema Motlanthe that recommended that the Ingonyama Trust Act should be repealed or amended and the Ingonyama Trust should be collapsed and the land given back to the state.

This is what we know so far about the Imbizo.


  • It took place to coincide with the 139th anniversary of the attack on King Cetshwayo’s Ondini palace, in 1879.


  • More Imbizos will be called for in Johannesburg and Durban at later dates.


  • Thousands of amabuthos and Zulu regiments attended.


  • A group of amabutho arrived brandishing traditional weapons and singing “uyadelela uMotlanthe (Motlanthe is rude)”.


  • The KwaZulu-Natal House of Traditional Leaders accused Motlanthe of swearing at the Zulu nation when he referred to Amakhozi as “village tinpot dictators”


  • The Ingonyama Trust controls three million hectares of communal land


  • The king is the sole trustee of the Ingonyama Trust.


  • Calls for KwaZulu-Natal to be renamed were made by some of the speakers at the imbizo who believe that Natal should be removed from the name to reassert the king’s authority in the province.


  • The kings declared anyone that went after his land was “an enemy of the Zulu”.


  • The king warned politicians to stop provoking the Zulu nation over land


  • Mgiliji Nhleko, an induna who is also a commander of the Zulu regiments, said amabutho were ready to defend the land with their lives


  • IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, speaking in his capacity as the traditional prime minister of the Zulu nation said taking land away from the king’s control was akin to ripping the soul from the Zulu nation.


  • Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans' Association spokesperson, Carl Niehaus, said the Zulu king is “supreme” in KwaZulu-Natal


  • Nieuhaus said that as an ANC member, he had to express his concern about Motlanthe having “launched an attack on traditional leaders”. The attack was unjustified, he said.
  • Also in attendance at the imbizo was KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Willies Mchunu and Police Minister, Bheki Cele


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