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IFP still wants answers on Vryheid state farm ‘given’ to Prince Mbonisi Zulu

Princess Thembi Zulu and Prince Mbonisi Zulu at Khangelamankengane Royal Palace in May last year. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Princess Thembi Zulu and Prince Mbonisi Zulu at Khangelamankengane Royal Palace in May last year. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 5, 2022

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Durban - The IFP is not backing down in its quest to squeeze out answers from the KwaZulu-Natal Office of the Premier regarding a state-owned farm that was to be leased to Prince Mbonisi Zulu.

On Thursday afternoon, shortly after the Premier Sihle Zikalala presented the budget of his office, which included R67 million allocated for the Zulu royal household, Blessed Gwala, the IFP’s chief whip in the provincial legislature, raised the matter.

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The matter first came to the fore when records of meetings and exchanges between the Zulu Royal Household Trust (ZRHT) and the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development were leaked in January this year.

In the leaked documents, which were signed by Sipho Buthelezi, the chief executive of the ZRHT, it emerged that the provincial government was planning to lease a farm in Vryheid, northern KwaZulu-Natal, to the senior Zulu prince, the half-brother of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini and an uncle of King Misuzulu kaZwelithini.

The leasing was for commercial purposes that would make the loss-making trust self-sustainable, but it was not stated how this would help the trust achieve the goal.

The revelations caused a furore within the royal circles as it was alleged that the prince was being clandestinely assisted so that he could be able to financially sustain his multi-pronged legal battle to halt the ascension and coronation of King Misuzulu kaZwelithini as the next Zulu king.

Prince Mbonisi did not comment on the matter and the allegations concerning it, back then.

Now Gwala, during the debate on the budget of the Office of the Premier, said it was time for Zikalala to come clean on the matter as it is tainting his office.

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“I want to call on the Hon Premier to tell this House whether he denies or confirms that according to the minutes of a meeting between the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Office of the Premier, and the Royal Household Trust, one Mbonisi Zulu was about to sign a 30-year farm lease agreement with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“What process was followed to come to that conclusion? Is this Prince Mbonisi Zulu, who acted as a King for 10 minutes after the demise of the late King?” Gwala asked Zikalala.

It is not clear whether the government department carried out the plan to lease the farm after the uproar that followed when the news broke.

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