The ANC KZN’s consultative land summit was attended by the alliance partners, communities, farmers’ associations, lawyers, land activists and other professionals in the sector at Coastlands Hotel in Durban. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - Former president Kgalema Motlanthe and his high-level panel failed to consult with the ANC and local government in KwaZulu-Natal before making its recommendations that land under the Ingonyama Trust be expropriated and the trust be scrapped, according to ANC KZN co-ordinator Sihle Zikalala.

Now, the ANC in KZN has pegged its stance that land under traditional leaders, like the Ingonyama Trust, should be exempt from expropriation without compensation. Political analyst Professor Somadoda Fikeni said this approach was predictable as elections were around the corner.

“The ANC is worried that other parties like the IFP may upstage them in KZN because they are moving closer to the king (Goodwill Zwelithini) over this issue,” he said. Fikeni said President Cyril Ramaphosa and his ANC needed to explain to the Zulu monarch their position on land expropriation.

Speaking at the ANC’s land summit in Durban yesterday, Zikalala told delegates that the provincial ANC, provincial government, the KwaZulu-Natal legislature and the provincial house of traditional leaders were not consulted in the high-level panel’s public engagement programme. The delegates at Monday’s meeting were invited from the ANC’s regions and leagues, provincial farming organisations and non-governmental organisations.

“Their recommendations and findings are of their own view and not that of the ANC. The ANC respects traditional leaders,” Zikalala said, reiterating Ramaphosa’s explanation to King Goodwill Zwelithini last week that land under the trust was not targeted by land expropriation. The chairperson of the Ingonyama Trust, Judge Jerome Ngwenya, said they welcomed and appreciated Ramaphosa’s approach, but the details were still going to be discussed in a more structured meeting.

Judge Ngwenya said Ramaphosa did not have much time with the king last Friday and although he told the trust that their land was safe from expropriation, there were still concerns given the Parliamentary Bill. “The high-level panel was not the only thing that created this unfortunate anxiety. There is still a bill in Parliament waiting to be passed,” he said.

Judge Ngwenya added that the king and the trust had still not decided who would be representing them at the public hearings next week. The ANC held the land summit to consolidate a proposal ahead of the parliamentary hearings on land reform to be held in KZN next week.

However, ANC provincial task team convener Mike Mabuyakhulu said that the summit would only address how to implement the governing party’s resolutions on expropriation of land without compensation, and not issues of land tenure and the future of land which falls under institutions like the Ingonyama Trust.

He said the land under consideration was privately owned. “That is the land we are looking for - that 87% which is in the hands of commercial owners,” he said. Mabuyakhulu described land reform as a “highly emotional” issue, saying that people always had strong views on the matter. He said there was growing frustration, mainly among the black population , with the slow pace of land reform.

He quoted the latest land audit published in 2018 by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform that found whites owned 72% of privately-owned farms and farm holdings, while coloureds owned 15%, Indians 5% and Africans 4%. The truth is that for many who had their land grabbed, it was taken without any compensation to the owners. We are making right what was done wrong,” Mabuyakhulu said.

The closed session of the summit was addressed by ANC NEC member Edna Molewa, political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe and academic Mncedisi Maphalala of the JL Dube Institute.

Political Bureau