Confidential letter shows Zulu King stripped Ingonyama Trust Board chairperson of all powers

King Misuzulu, centre, has purportedly stripped Judge Jerome Ngwenya of his powers. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/IOL

King Misuzulu, centre, has purportedly stripped Judge Jerome Ngwenya of his powers. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/IOL

Published Apr 26, 2023


Durban - As the battle for the soul of Ingonyama Trust rages on across KwaZulu-Natal, a letter purportedly signed by King Misuzulu KaZwelithini revoking the powers of attorney conferred to Judge Jerome Sipho Ngwenya by the late King Goodwill Zwelithini Ka Bhekuzulu, has come to the fore.

This comes as there is confusion regarding who is the rightful chairperson of the Ingonyama Trust Board between Ngwenya and Inkosi Thanduyise Mzimela of Eshowe in the north of the province.

The letter, which was seen by IOL, was purportedly signed by the King on March 31, 2023 and it summarily bars Ngwenya from entering into any contract on behalf of the Trust.

“I, His Majesty King Misuzulu KaZwelithini, hereby revoke, rescind and terminate any and all Powers of Attorney, all authority and delegation, rights and powers given to Judge Sipho Jerome Ngwenya, by the late Ingonyama, my father and predecessor.

“From this date forward, Judge Sipho Jerome Ngwenya, has no authority to:

"a) Act as a trustee of the Ingonyama Trust ("Trust");

“b) Signing all necessary and related documentation for and on behalf of the Trust;

“c) Enter into any contract on behalf of the Trust;

“d) Appoint attorneys and any professional agents on behalf of the Trust;

“e) Opening bank accounts where need be;

“f) Handling any and all financial affairs.”

Ngwenya refused to entertain questions about whether he received it or not, demanding to know how IOL obtained it.

The king’s office referred all questions to Sibongile Mdletshe who is listed for enquiries in the letter.

Mdletshe did not take calls and did not answer messages sent to her.

Last week, the Ingonyama Trust Board in Pietermaritzburg was thrown into a state of confusion when Inkosi Mzimela was announced as the new chairperson of the board, replacing the long serving Ngwenya who was left in the position by the late King Goodwill Zwelithini.

The announcement was made in a memo sent to staff by Vela Mngwengwe, the CEO of the trust, which manages 2.8 million hectares that are rich in minerals like coal and iron ore.

Ngwenya issued a counter-memo, saying he was still the chairperson and there has been an attempt to lock him out of office by Mngwengwe.

Mngwengwwe came back to the staff after Ngwenya’s letter and told them that he has been axed and staff should not take any instructions from him since that will amount to insubordination.

The king was expected to meet Ngwenya and Mzimela on Monday and thereafter his office issue a statement to explain how the meeting went.

That is yet to happen.

Amakhosi in the Zululand region raised concerns about the impasse and pleaded for a speedy resolution.

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the king and Zulu nation’s traditional prime minister, said according to his understanding, Ngwenya is still at the helm as appointed by the late King Goodwill Zwelithini.

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