The Premier of KZN Sihle Zikalala says the main issue about the Ingonyama trust which owns vast land in KZN, is not only about ownership, but it goes beyond to include using the land for economic purposes by those inhabiting it. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

Durban - The Premier of KZN, Sihle Zikalala, says contrary to popular belief, the main issue about the Ingonyama trust which owns vast land in KZN, is not only about ownership, but it goes beyond to include using the land for economic purposes by those inhabiting it.

As a result, he said they are working with the trust whose sole trustee is Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, to ensure that indeed people living on the land, are able to use the land to conduct businesses with tenure certainty and be able to use it as a collateral to access business funding from financial institutions. 

Zikalala was responding to media questions during a post-state of the province address interaction with political editors and senior political journalists which was held in Durban on Wednesday. 

"I don't believe that with regards to Ingonyama trust the question is about ownership, while it is about ownership I think it as about ensuring that people who are under land that is controlled by Ingonyama trust have the right to use that land for economic reasons and for economic benefit which I believe both the trust and government must resolve and have a plan to ensure that those people are able to use land effectively and to get those who want to use land for getting loans or business operation, they should have that access. We should be working on that," Zikalala responded when asked about the contentious issue of the trust. 

The Trust owns 29.67% of the land in KwaZulu-Natal, which is equivalent to 28 000 square kilometres, or 10 811 square miles.  

Touching on a range of issues at the interaction session, Zikalala also spoke about stabilizing the province seen as one of the most violent in the country, fighting corruption and fraud in the public and private sector. One of the major measures he said they would take in their fight against corruption would be ensuring that whistleblowers are protected. 

Zikalala also assured the people the country will be very diligent in dealing with the pressing land issue. He said the government has learnt from past mistakes like giving land to people who later fail to use it and that is a stepping stone to doing the right thing as they work on the land issue. 

"We are not going to go the route of Zimbabwe because we are not going to be reckless in anything we do. When we resolved on land, for instance, land expropriation (with compensation) we said it should be implemented in a manner that does not undermine food security but also does not undermine the effectiveness of other sectors of the economy. So we are not going to take an approach where we just expropriate for the sake expropriation. We have learned from our own mistakes as government, mistakes such as restituting land and you find that we take land we give it to people who will not work or people who will want to lease it back, which is better... We are not going to be a failed state."

Political Bureau