Ingonyama Trust Board chairperson replaced after years at the helm

Published Apr 20, 2023


Durban - Inkosi Thanduyise Mzimela of Golela and Ntshidi in the King Cetshwayo district has been appointed as the new chairperson of the hotly contested Ingonyama Trust Board which manages 2.8 million hectares of tribal land in KZN which is rich in minerals like coals and iron ore.

Mzimela, a key loyalist of King Misuzulu KaZwelithini, replaces Judge Jerome Ngwenya who has held the position since the time of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini.

The staff of the board was duly informed of the changes in an internal memo dated April 19, 2023 and signed by CEO Vela Mngwengwe.

Mngwengwe told the staff that he was informed of the changes by the office of Minister Thoko Didiza of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

“On Friday (14 April 2023) afternoon I was alerted by the Chief of Staff in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development that Ingonyama has nominated Inkosi Thanduyise Nkosinathi Mzimela as the chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Ingonyama Trust Board.

“I eventually received written confirmation of this fact from the Chief of Staff, just before midnight on Friday.

“On Monday afternoon I called Inkosi Mzimela but could not speak to him since he was driving and I could not find him yesterday.

“This morning I spoke to him and he confirmed his appointment.

"It is on the basis of his confirmation that I am now able to share this with staff members.

“The chairperson (INkosi Mzimela) has however indicated that he is due to meet Ingonyama to provide him with further instructions regarding his expectations and how they will work together.

"It is only then that he will actively assume his duties.

“In view of there being a new chairperson, all officials can no longer take official instructions from the previous chairperson (Mr S J Ngwenya).

Mngwengwe said if Inkosi Mzimela declined the nomination, Ngwenya would not automatically get his job back.

“Since there was a story in newspapers recently about someone being nominated as chairperson of the Board and subsequently declining, I deem it necessary to address that eventuality.

“In the event of Inkosi Mzimela subsequently declining his nomination, that will not automatically reinstate the chairperson before him.

“It will mean that Ingonyama becomes the chairperson until he nominates another person.

“Regarding the appointment of the full board, I do not have any information to share at the moment since there appear to be some issues that need the attention of the Minister, Ingonyama and the Premier,” reads part of the internal memo to staff which was seen by IOL.

Mngwengwe confirmed the appointment to IOL on Thursday morning.

“Yes I do confirm that Inkosi Mzimela is the new chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Ingonyama Trust Board,” Mngwengwe said in his written confirmation.

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