King Goodwill Zwelithini

Durban - The Zulu nation has been urged to “stand up and be counted” over government’s plans to repeal the Ingonyama Trust which administers all communal land in KwaZulu-Natal on behalf of King Goodwill Zwelithini.

The King has called for an imbizo to be held in Ulundi on Wednesday - the 139th anniversary of the battle of Ondini which saw the Zulu king’s palace razed.

The imbizo is 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Fundamental Change led by former president, Kgalema Motlanthe that recommended that the Ingonyama Trust Act should be repealed, or amended and the Ingonyama Trust should be collapsed - taking control of the land out of the hands of traditional leaders and putting it in control of the state.

In a statement, the Royal Zulu Press Office said that it was all systems go for the imbizo.

Royal Zulu press office spokesperson, Simpiwe Mxakaza said Zulus were being called to “stand up and be counted”.

“Through (the)  imbizo, Isilo (the King)  is making a clarion call to all his people to be in attendance so that they can personally make contributions and influence legislation that will affect generations to come,” Mxakaza said.

“Isilo has, in the past, shunned what he calls ‘sponsored public participation’ processes that merely aim to tick a box as this is a legislative requirement and is calling on all those that are affected by the ill-informed and proposed changes to make direct contributions to the process. 

"His Majesty wants his people to personally make their submissions so that there are no two ways about what they would like to see being decided upon in order to send an unequivocal message to the powers that be,” he said.

Mxakaza said the issue of land was a very sensitive one for the Zulu people.

“It is about food security, housing and political economy, amongst others and it is for this reason that Zulus will not be pedestrians that will sit and watch while major decisions about their ancestral land are made. '

"As much as others have a right to influence Zulus on this issue, equally Zulus also have a right to influence others on the same,” King Zwelithini was quoted as saying.

“His Majesty concluded by reminding all that the issue of land is about life and death as, without land, what will people cultivate, where will they live, what will they eat and when all is said and done, where will they be buried? 

"He is appealing to his people to stand up and be counted as, to paraphrase a quotation, catastrophic outcomes become the order of the day when good men and women sit by and do nothing,” Mxakaza said.

It comes as the government presses ahead with implementing an ANC conference resolution of expropriating land without compensation.

The Ingonyama Trust administers 28,000km² of traditional land on behalf of the king.

King Zwelithini had earlier this year asked all Zulus to donate R5 towards a fund to fight the attempts to repeal the Ingonyama Trust.

According to Business Day, Zwelithini has asked all Zulus to increase their donations — from R5 to at least R15 to mount a legal challenge and sponsor marches and pickets in the fight against the government.

The report said that Zwelithini and Inkatha Freedom Party leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi will on Wednesday "tell their subjects how they must defy government" on the explosive issue of land expropriation without compensation.

Daily News