WATCH: Buthelezi threatens to dump King Misuzulu over Ingonyama Trust dispute

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi addressing amakhosi on Friday. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/IOL

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi addressing amakhosi on Friday. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/IOL

Published May 26, 2023


Empangeni - Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi has threatened to step aside as the traditional prime minister of the Zulu nation due to a dispute with King Misuzulu kaZwelithini over the recent appointment at the Ingonyama Trust.

Buthelezi on Friday told a full house of amakhosi (chiefs) that he was now finding it extremely difficult to serve the nation under the leadership of King Misuzulu KaZwelithini.

Buthelezi said his discomfort stems from King Misuzulu’s inability to listen to advice regarding the leadership of the Ingonyama Trust which administers 2.8 million hectares of tribal land in the province.

He does not agree with the king’s choice for chair.

The land is rich in minerals and it also rakes in millions in rental income.

The trust was established in 1994 and transferred land to tribal authority and the sole trustee is any reigning King.

Buthelezi told the traditional leaders and mayors that he was the brains behind the trust when all tribal land elsewhere in South Africa was moved to the control of the state, except the one in KwaZulu-Natal.

In a five-hour speech, Buthelezi said the land has always been in the sight of those who wanted it during colonial times.

Buthelezi shared how he and King Misuzulu disagreed about who should lead the trust as the chairperson of the board.

Judge Jerome Ngwenya has recently vacated the position.

He said the trust should be led by someone who had extensive experience in legal matters and the current chairperson of the board, Inkosi Thanduyise Mzimela, who has been appointed by King Misuzulu, did not have extensive legal experience.

“I had been made aware that, from the outset, Inkosi Thanduyise Mzimela had pleaded for his nomination to be withdrawn when the King first suggested his appointment.

“In fact, I had been shown a letter that Inkosi Mzimela intended giving to the King in which he conveyed that he does not have the capacity to run the Board and that it was too much for him.

“I have distributed the draft letter that was drafted so that it could be delivered to His Majesty the King in which Inkosi Mzimela was asking to be excused, admitting his incapacity to hold the chairmanship of the Ingonyama Trust Board,” Buthelezi told the meeting.

During that briefing, Buthelezi made shocking revelations when he said he was surprised that the Zulu King said he was unable to meet with him yet at some point he helped him iron out a fallout with his father, the later King Goodwill Zwelithini.

It had been widely spoken about in royal corridors that the late King never wanted to be succeeded by King Misuzulu.

That claim has been amplified by Zulu royal family members who support Prince Simakade for the throne.

During the briefing, Buthelezi also revealed that King Misuzulu was so determined to keep Inkosi Mzimela even if his court case against Prince Simakade is jeopardised by not filing his affidavits.

Buthelezi on arrival to address Amakhosi. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/IOL

“The King, in his letter to me on 17 May, indicated that he would forgo my affidavit in the case brought by Prince Simakade and Prince Mbonisi despite the fact that his legal team had warned that the case would likely fail without my affidavit.

“The King would rather risk his reign, than change his decision on the chairmanship of the Ingonyama Trust Board,” he said.

There was shock among those in attendance when Buthelezi said that it appears that King Misuzulu has been captured and the Ingonyama Trust land was up for sale to the highest bidder.

“This raises fundamental questions on whether His Majesty is being held to ransom by individuals who are salivating to get their hands on the Ingonyama Trust land.

“The board is being made vulnerable by removing legal and technical expertise from the helm.

“There are rumours of bribes being offered and strategies developed to ensure that the rich inheritance of the Zulu nation can be taken from us, for the enrichment of a corrupt few individuals.

“This coterie of illegal mining.

“If they succeed, our King will have sold our land.

“He will be selling the very ground on which we have our homes to someone in another province, who accuses us of being tribalistic when we want to protect our heritage.

“We were made by the soil, by the Almighty, and we will go back to it. All our ancestors, their mortal remains, are in this soil.

“How could this land be sold?

“I understand the gravity of what I am saying when I warn that our King seems to be captured, if all that we are hearing is true.

“For me these rumours give me sleepless nights.

“I hope they are not true. But as someone who has served our monarchs and nation for almost 70 years, who has sacrificed more than anyone for the survival of our traditional institutions, and who placed all the land of Zulu Kingdom under the protection of the King, I have a moral obligation to inform amakhosi, in the hope that collectively we can find the right way forward,” Buthelezi said.

Buthelezi said it would be difficult to serve as the traditional prime minister when King Misuzulu was refusing to heed his advice.

“Having experienced so much and having fought for so long to protect our land and our Kingdom, I am bewildered by the prospect of the Ingonyama Trust land being made vulnerable by our King.

“I find it very difficult to continue serving under these circumstances.

“I am determined not to abandon my King and am committed to serve His Majesty with the same dedication and self-sacrifice with which I served his late father and his grandfather.

“But His Majesty is making it impossible for me to continue to serve.

“I fear that we may have reached a point where I must explain to the nation why I am compelled to step aside as Prime Minister.

“It is not my wish to step away from the King, but if the King refuses to hear my plea for the Ingonyama Trust, I cannot continue to serve.

“I fear that amakhosi who administer the land of the Ingonyama Trust, and the Zulu nation for whom I established the Trust, will accuse me of abandoning them.

“I will be accused of abandoning His Majesty as well, when his position is most vulnerable and will be challenged in court next week.

“The people who want the King to be defenestrated because they are claiming his throne are in court.

“The case takes place on the 31st of May and the 1st of June.

“But how can I remain when my King refuses to protect the land of the Zulu Kingdom which I myself placed under his care?”

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