King Misuzulu appoints himself as Ingonyama Trust chair after firing Thanduyise Mzimela

King Misuzulu kaZwelithini Zulu's coronation. Picture: Bongani Mbatha /IndependentNewspapers

King Misuzulu kaZwelithini Zulu's coronation. Picture: Bongani Mbatha /IndependentNewspapers

Published Feb 13, 2024


King Misuzulu kaZwelithini has fired the Ingonyama Trust Board chairperson Thanduyise Mzimela and appointed himself as the new chair of the trust which administers rural land in KwaZulu-Natal.

For the first time since it's formation in 1994, the king, as the sole trustee of Ingonyama, will also chair the ITB.

During the reign of his late father, King Goodwill Zwelithini, Judge Jerome Ngwenya served as the chairperson until the late king’s death in March 2021.

The Ingonyama Trust was formed during the dying days of apartheid in 1994, in a deal between the National Party and the Inkatha Freedom Party.

It was established to manage land owned by the government of the former KwaZulu government, which was more than 2.8 million hectares of land. King Misuzulu said they had tried to serve Mzimela with a letter, through the sheriff, in September last year.

In a letter dated Monday, February 12, 2023, King Misuzulu said Mzimela received emailed correspondence in September last year, which was “met with silence”.

He said the letter was only acknowledged by a Vela Mngwengwe only on October 19, 2023.

“To ensure that the letter is indeed brought to your attention, the Sheriff of Pietermaritzburg was instructed to formally serve the revocation letter on you, personally.

“To my surprise, the Sheriff advised that on 25 October 2023, you refused to accept the service of such letter, however same was served by way of affixing,”'said the king.

King Misuzulu said Mzimela served at his pleasure, and he was now removing him.

“You are my appointed nominee. I have rightfully elected to remove you as the Chairperson of the Ingonyama Trust Board, which was previously communicated to you on more than one occasion.

“I place on record that I, the sole Trustee, will resume the position as the Chairperson of the Ingonyama Trust Board.

“For a final time, you are hereby demanded to immediately cease and desist from acting as the Chairperson of the Ingonyama Trust Board as you have no authority to act as such,” said the king.

In the letter dated Monday, February 12, 2023, the king said Mzimela had 24 hours to vacate office or face further “action”, presumably legal.

Mzimela had been appointed board chairperson in May last year, along with Advocate Linda Zama as vice-chairperson, Inkosi Mabudu Israel Tembe, Dr Thandi Dlamini, Nomusa Zulu, Dandy Matamela, Inkosi Phallang Bokang Molefe, Inkosi Sibonelo Mkhize and Lisa Del Grande to the board, which has a mandate to hold land for “the benefit, material welfare and social well-being of the members of the tribes and communities” living on the land.

His removal is the latest fracture in Zulu royal affairs after King Misuzulu's spokesperson, Prince Afrika, was also relieved of his duties at the weekend.

Recently, the king appointed Thulasizwe Buthelezi as the traditional prime minister and former chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal House of Traditional Leaders Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza, as the new deputy prime minister.

The king is also locked in a legal dispute with his brother, Prince Simakade and his uncle, Prince Mbonisi.

The legal battle over his recognition as king is expected to be heard at the Supreme Court of Appeals.

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