Minister Thoko Didiza said now was not the right time to discuss the issues around the ITB as the family was still in mourning. Photo:GCIS
Minister Thoko Didiza said now was not the right time to discuss the issues around the ITB as the family was still in mourning. Photo:GCIS

Didiza sidesteps talks around Ingonyama Trust Board

By Samkelo Mtshali Time of article published Mar 16, 2021

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DURBAN – RURAL Development and Land Reform Minister Thoko Didiza has sidestepped the issue of the future of the Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB) and the 3 million hectares of land under its control in KwaZulu-Natal.

Following the passing of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu on Friday, the contentious issue of the land has been brought to the spotlight after traditional leaders in the province expressed fears that the government could take advantage of the King’s passing by seizing the land.

His Majesty was the sole trustee of the board of the 3 million hectares of Ingonyama Trust land which makes up 30% of KwaZulu-Natal’s overall land.

In recent years, the ITB has been the subject of intense scrutiny after several moves that have aimed at its disbandment.

Among the most significant of such moves has come from the High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change led by former President Kgalema Mothlante and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Presidential Advisory Panel.

The two panels recommended that the Ingonyama Trust Act should be repealed or substantially amended to protect existing customary land rights.

Didiza said that it was unnecessary and inappropriate to discuss the “where to” as far as the work of the board and the work of the trustee of the board was concerned.

“This is given that the family is still in mourning and I think we need to respect that because we are here to pay our respects. From time to time yes there would be issues of concern by the portfolio committee, on those matters we were engaging with the board and the trustee himself on how we can best deal with those issues that have been of concerns from the portfolio committee’s side,” Didiza said.

She described the King as a father figure and a “very interesting human being” who was passionate about his community and South African society as a whole and not just the Zulu nation.

“He was more passionate about development and seeing our country develop but particularly people of his province and of his nation. As a leader he was able to guide, to intervene when there were difficult times.

“We will miss his advices because we would have, from time to time, engaged on matters of the Ingonyama Trust Board with Isilo. He was somebody passionate about development, so our engagements were beyond the activities of the board but also how as a trustee, together with the board, they could develop the communities under Ingonyama Trust,” Didiza said.

POLITICAL BUREAU

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