Buthelezi tells Zulu royals that King Misuzulu wanted to chair Ingonyama Trust himself

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jun 2, 2023


Ulundi - In yet another bombshell to come out as a result of the ongoing feud between King Misuzulu and Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi over the Ingonyama Trust board, the latter has said the king is rejecting all advice.

As a result of that, King Misuzulu’s refusal to remove Inkosi Thanduyise Mzimela as the chairperson of the board, even after it became clear that he was “out of depth”, has led to even bizarre proposals.

He told a full house of heads of Zulu royal houses in Ulundi, in northern KwaZulu-Natal on Friday, that King Misuzulu even wanted to go against the norm and chair the board himself.

Buthelezi called the meeting to “appraise” the heads regarding issues of the trust that holds about 3.5 million hectares of tribal land.

Last Friday Buthelezi met with some amakhosi (chiefs) in Empangeni about the same matter and he asked for their advice on whether he should continue serving as traditional prime minister to the king and the Zulu nation.

He said he was finding it difficult that he was serving King Misuzulu who is refusing to heed advice over the Ingonyama Trust, which he set up.

In the end, Amakhosi asked him to soldier on and they also said they don’t accept the new Ingonyama Trust board led by Inkosi Mzimela.

During the meeting with the heads of the Zulu royal houses on Friday, Buthelezi repeated most of what he told amakhosi and how the Trust was formed.

“The task of chairing the Ingonyama Trust Board is of necessity a full-time job.

“It demands intricate knowledge of the law, a keen understanding of indigenous and customary law, and a commitment to be in office every day to manage these complex matters in a hands-on fashion.

“I was not surprised therefore when His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu sought my advice and decided that the Board should be chaired by his nominee, instead of himself.

“The wisdom, and indeed the necessity of easing the burden on the King in this manner, was expressed in the Act having made provision for exactly that.

“I supported His Majesty King Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu’s chosen nominee, former Judge the Hon. Jerome Ngwenya, and supported the King’s decision in July 2016 to have the Hon. Mr Ngwenya continue as his nominee for an indefinite period, as it was clear that the Hon. Mr Ngwenya was fulfilling his role on behalf of the King and was diligently following the king’s instructions.

“His Majesty our late King displayed great wisdom in placing matters of the Ingonyama Trust in the hands of someone with the experience, skill and loyalty of former Judge Jerome Ngwenya. Over decades, His Majesty and the Hon. Mr Ngwenya developed intimate insight into matters relating to the Ingonyama Trust land, how to protect it and how to ensure that the original vision was maintained for the benefit of all our people.

“As a result, he said he was surprised when King Misuzulu wanted to chair the board himself when he was told that Inkosi Mzimela is not suitable.

“The following day, on Monday 15 May, I met with Prince Thulani. While we were together, His Majesty phoned Prince Thulani and indicated that he had found a solution.

“He intended to take over as chairperson of the board himself, while Inkosi Mzimela would be his deputy.

“In terms of legislation, however, the vice-chairperson of the Board is appointed by the Minister from among the eight board members the Minister appoints.

“There is no provision for His Majesty to appoint a deputy chairperson.

“Moreover, His Majesty cannot perform the complex, onerous and full-time work of chairperson to the board, while at the same time reigning over the Zulu Nation.

“How could His Majesty appear before a parliamentary portfolio committee and have politicians criticise him?

“How could His Majesty go to the office every day, chair meetings and attend to the myriad tasks of chairing a board?

“His Majesty would need to abdicate in order to do this work, it is simply not feasible,” Buthelezi said.

Buthelezi added that the board is made vulnerable by removing legal and technical expertise from the helm.

“There are rumours of bribes being offered and strategies developed to ensure that the rich inheritance of the Zulu nation can be taken from us, for the enrichment of a corrupt few individuals.

“This coterie of illegal mining.

“If they succeed, our King will have sold our land.

“He will be selling the very ground on which we have our homes to someone in another province, who accuses us of being tribalistic when we want to protect our heritage,” he said.

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