The opening of the traditional parliament at Ulundi by King Goodwill Zwelithini, seen here greeting a cultural dance group called Isiphitithiphithi. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/ African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has given the government an ultimatum to finalise the emotive issue of around 3 million hectares of land which fall under the Ingonyama Trust.

The king, during the opening of the traditional parliament in Ulundi on Tuesday, again voiced his disapproval of the proposal by a high-level panel, chaired by former president Kgalema Motlanthe, which found that the Ingonyama Trust Act was unconstitutional and must be repealed.

This means that around 3 million hectares of land under the trust will be transferred to the state for redistribution.

King Zwelithini told provincial traditional leaders in Ulundi that the land under the Ingonyama Trust was an inheritance from their forefathers, and the nation was willing to put up a fight.

He repeated last week’s call for all Zulu people to donate R5 towards a fund that will be used to wage a legal battle if Parliament goes ahead with repealing the Ingonyama Trust Act.

“Government must be forced to finish this and never mention it again,” he said.

The king was addressing the opening of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, north of KwaZulu-Natal.

“No one can give their land away. Why is it being taken, from who to whom, because we are here living on it?” he asked.

He said those who wanted to take the land did not wish the Zulu nation well on their land.

“Ibutho (Zulu warriors) are ready to defend our land, we are protecting this land. God put us here,” the king said.

He called for an urgent meeting with amakhosi to discuss a way forward. 

He also announced banking details for an account where Zulu people could donate money for legal battles in the fight against the dissolution of the Ingonyama Trust.

“Many have been asking for this account number. Some overseas friends have asked that we hurry up because they want to contribute,” the king added.

He assured the house of transparency regarding the use of the donations. The king also cautioned the Zulu nation not to be swayed by other issues and lose focus.

“Be careful of reports that will distract you from this land issue. Some are plotting because we are speaking in unity,” he added.

Standing in for Premier Willies Mchunu, MEC for Economic Development and Tourism Sihle Zikalala said the land issue had been taken to national government.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa and the speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, are dealing with this matter urgently and we will update the king soon. The provincial government is against traditional leadership being undermined. 

“We are not opposed to rural people having a right to own their land but we believe this can be done without taking away the right of traditional leaders as custodians of land in rural areas,” Zikalala said.

The Mercury