Zwakele Mncwango is the leader of the DA in KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/ANA
Durban - KwaZulu-Natal DA leader Zwakele Mncwango said he would engage with Mmusi Maimane after the party leader said if it were in power it would review or even repeal the Ingonyama Trust Act.

Maimane on Tuesday said his party was not averse to reviewing the act should it be given the opportunity to govern the country.

The act gave rise to the Ingonyama Trust Board, which governs some parts of KwaZulu-Natal land on behalf of King Goodwill Zwelithini, who is the sole custodian of the trust.

Maimane said that although he agreed with the king that the land should not be nationalised, he disagreed on the issue of converting the permission-to-occupy aspect into long-term leases. “If the Ingonyama Trust is an inhibitor to that (issue of title deeds), then that will be a discussion we will have to have,” reads Maimane’s comment.

Maimane and Mncwango had last month visited Osuthu Palace in Nongoma where they donated a herd of cattle to the king and also pledged their support on the issue of Ingonyama Trust Board and land.

Mncwango told Independent Media on Tuesday that from his previous engagement with Maimane about the trust, there was an agreement that the DA should start by engaging broadly on the matter.

“He has not told me that anything has changed and, if anything has, he will have to tell me.

“I will go to him to hear what exactly is going on because our view was clear that we first want to hear people’s views,” said Mncwango.

The act is now before Parliament for scrutiny, the process that might lead to its appeal or amendment, following findings by former president Kgalema Motlanthe’s high-level panel that it was unconstitutional.

Traditional leaders and hostel dwellers in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have vowed to fight any attempt to take the land away from the king.

The king has even started a process of fundraising for the legal battle on the matter.

Notorious Durban-based radical groups such as Amadelangokubona and National Funeral Practitioners Association of SA have also stated they will defend the trust.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal had said it would not want to be involved in an act that undermines the king.

Mncwango said the party had not yet started formal engagements with stakeholders “as we are currently engaging internally”.

“The visit with the king was part of engaging. I am also involved with traditional leaders,” said Mncwango.

EFF leader Julius Malema, during the launch of his party’s election campaign in Johannesburg, also called for the scrapping of the Ingonyama Trust Act, saying that it was used by white people to set the Zulu kingdom against the black majority.

“If Ingonyama Trust is not being used properly to benefit the Zulus, then let Ingonyama Trust be dissolved and let it (land) be returned into the hands of the people.

“Why should the Zulu kingdom not be treated as one of the institutions under democracy?” Malema was quoted as saying.

When contacted for comment on Maimane’s statement, the king’s spokesperson, Prince Thulani, Zulu said the royal family would not want to respond to statements which politicians did not make directly to the king.

“Responding to such statements would be a waste of time because we are not politicians.

“A person who wants to engage about the kingdom should come to the kingdom to talk directly to the king,” said Zulu.

Political Bureau