Honour Madiba’s promises, king demands

King Misuzulu demanded the implementation of the 1994 agreement reached between the IFP and the SA government about including the king’s powers in the Constitution after the elections. | SIBONELO NGCOBO Independent Newspapers

King Misuzulu demanded the implementation of the 1994 agreement reached between the IFP and the SA government about including the king’s powers in the Constitution after the elections. | SIBONELO NGCOBO Independent Newspapers

Published May 24, 2024


Durban — King Misuzulu has demanded the implementation of the reconciliation agreement between prominent statesmen Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk during crucial talks about the Zulu king’s status and powers in the new South Africa ahead of the watershed 1994 elections.

Addressing amakhosi at an imbizo in Ulundi, north of KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday, the king said he would go to the international court to force the implementation because in the agreement there was a clause that a solution would be found through consultation with international mediators.

The king said the agreement was the only solution to the problems the Zulu kingdom and the Ingonyama Trust were facing under the current government. He said if that agreement, which was signed 30 years ago, was honoured, the situation would not be like it is now.

Before his address, the king had asked his Traditional Prime Minister Thulasizwe Buthelezi to distribute the copies of the agreement, which was signed by the all late leaders on April 19, 1994.

The agreement, which paved the way for the IFP to participate in the elections after it had boycotted them, guaranteed the IFP that the South African government would bring international mediators to advise on how the king’s role and powers would be applied in a constitutional democracy like new South Africa.

In the talks known as Codesa (Convention for a Democratic South Africa) before the 1994 elections, the IFP demanded that the king’s powers be included in the Constitution, which the ANC and the National Party negotiators had refused. The IFP’s late founder, Buthelezi, then announced that his party would boycott the elections.

Fearing civil unrest of great proportions, Mandela and De Klerk conceded to Buthelezi’s demands but said the matter would be immediately dealt with after the elections and the government would bring international mediators to find a solution to the impasse.

According to the king, what prompted his call was the way he was being treated by the Ingonyama Trust, which he claimed had been influenced by Agriculture and Land Reform Minister Thoko Didiza to undermine him.

The king said the minister had stripped amakhosi of their powers to issue permission to occupy permits to businesses trading in the land under their rule, which he said was equal to destroying the Ingonyama Trust. He said he was being rejected by the board of the Ingonyama Trust.

He added that since he appointed himself as the board chairperson of the Ingonyama Trust, the board has never accepted him and has refused to work with him.

“Makhosi, I have called you over to inform you about the problems I am facing in the Ingonyama Trust which I am a trustee and beneficiary of. The board and the minister undermine me. They don’t want to work with me as a board chairperson. In fact, they want to fire me from the board,” said the king.

The meeting proceeded amid attempts by the KwaZulu-Natal House of Traditional Leaders to stop it.

Left: Prince Simphiwe Zulu, king Misuzulu, Traditional Prime Minister Thulasizwe Buthelezi, his deputy inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza and amabutho commander Prince Vanana Zulu. Photo by Willem Phungula

In an open letter penned by the chairperson of the House, inkosi Sifiso Shinga, on behalf of the amakhosi, a call was made to the king to first respond to the concerns which were raised by the amakhosi regarding how the Ingonyama Trust was being managed.

The chairperson told the king in the letter that there were outstanding issues that needed to be addressed.

However, Shinga’s call for the postponement of the meeting was rejected by the king and amakhosi, who came in numbers.

Amakhosi had questioned Shinga’s powers to overrule the king’s word, saying they would attend the meeting as the king’s word was final.

“Everyone knows that the king’s word is final so, I will be attending the meeting, and I think other amakhosi will attend as well,” said inkosi Ntombizini Mpungose, a day before the meeting.

However, Shinga told the Daily News on Wednesday that the House was not calling for a boycott of the king’s meeting, but it was a request, saying that if the king did not postpone it as per the House’s request, he would attend the meeting.

“The king has not responded yet,” he said.

The king’s traditional prime minister, Thulasizwe Buthelezi, said it was unprecedented that once the king convenes a meeting, there should be a counter-view from any quarter.

The king’s imbizo comes amid rising tensions between him and Didiza.

Last week, addressing amabutho, princesses and princes outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court, Buthelezi announced that the minister wanted to strip amakhosi of their rights to issue permission to occupy letters to the businesses who want to do trade in the land under the Trust, which the minister has since denied.

Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said this was politicking by the king and Buthelezi to mislead amakhosi that the ANC was taking their land, which was not true.

Ngcobo said permissions to occupy land (PTOs) under the Ingonyama Trust for businesses are personally signed by the king. He also dismissed the king’s utterances that he invited the minister to a meeting.

“There was no invitation at all, and we call on the king to provide proof thereof,” said Ngcobo.

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