ANC leaders have been accused of claiming to respect Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini while planning to take over land under the monarch's custody. File picture: ANA

Pietermaritzburg - Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Member of Provincial Legislature (MPL) Blessed Gwala has accused African National Congress (ANC) leaders of being two-faced characters who claim to respect Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini while also planning to take over land falling under the monarch's custody. 

This was during a Human Rights Day debate at the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature on Thursday where Gwala slammed plans to take land that falls under the Ingonyama Trust which is headed by the king. 

"We know of the ANC leaders who come as if they are paying homage to the king in his palace and leave gifts of cattle but at the same time hatching plans to take over the land from His Majesty," said Gwala. This was in reference to a report which recommended the dissolution of Ingonyama Trust and for the land to be taken over by the government. A high-level panel led by former president Kgalema Motlanthe had, after investigating land ownership across the country, recommended that the board was unconstitutional and that the act should be scrapped.

Gwala said the crafters of such a move were people that knew nothing about land use. "To us black people, land is the source of our living, we will not allow to be lured by individuals who can't even grow a small garden to have take over the land over which our ancestors fought bravely for," said Gwala. 

He added that the ANC government's plans to take over this land meant that there was nothing to celebrate on Human Rights Day which was commemorated on Wednesday.    

Responding to Gwala's remarks, ANC MPL and Economic Development MEC Sihle Zikalala labelled the IFP as scaremongers who were using the issue of the Ingonyama Trust in order to remain popular. "We respect the king because he is not only your king but is for all of us Zulus," said Zikalala. 

He warned that moves to drive a wedge between the ANC and the king would fail as it was an outdated style of politics which many IFP members  were distancing themselves from. "But we know that the old guard in the IFP, represented by the likes of Gwala is still clinging to that style of politics because it makes them relevant," he said.

The Zulu King recently indicated his determination to stave off any attempts by government to take over Ingonyama Trust land. Addressing the opening of the KZN Legislature  in February this year, the king urged Zulus to donate R5 as part of the war chest to mount a legal challenge against such a move.  

African News Agency/ANA