Land belonging to the Zulu nation will not be expropriated by the national government, said Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - Land belonging to the Zulu nation will not be expropriated by the national government, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini told thousands of people attending the annual Shaka Day celebration in Durban on Sunday.

Using his annual speech at the event - which marks the death of the Zulu nation’s most famous leader Shaka - Zwelithini demanded that President Cyril Ramaphosa not only visit him again but give guarantees that the Ingonyama Trust would not be targeted in the country’s much-debated land reform programme.

Ramaphosa’s previous visit in June caused a stir when he was accused of kneeling before the king at the official palace in Nongoma in Northern KwaZulu-Natal. Ramaphosa later explained he was merely bending down to show the king a book on cattle.

Zwelithini has been particularly vocal about the nation-wide debate on whether or not to change the Constitution to allow the state unfettered power to expropriate land without compensating the owner.

His anger stems from recommendations made in a report called the “High-level panel on the assessment of key legislation and the acceleration of fundamental change”, chaired by former president Kgalema Motlanthe and released in November last year.

In the report, it was stated the Ingonyama Trust was likely unconstitutional and its existence should be reviewed in any land reform debate. It also questioned why the trust provided few services to those occupying the land, yet it generated in excess of R96 million from rentals.

The trust owns about 29.67 percent of mostly deep rural land in KwaZulu-Natal, which covers an area of 94,361km². While Zwelithini is the sole trustee of the land it is divided according to clans and overseen by traditional leaders.

Speaking in isiZulu as he addressed the crowd at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Zwelithini said Ramaphosa “must come down to KwaZulu-Natal with something in black and white to assure all the Zulus that their land will not be touched”.

The Shaka Day celebration was expected to be held on September 24, but was postponed after the sudden death of Zwelithini’s son Butho Zulu. Butho was the son of Zwelithini's second wife queen Buhle kaMathe. Shaka Day is the presumed date of Shaka’s death in 1828.

In a wide-ranging speech, he also urged the government to be better organised and to enhance protection for people living with albinism and the disabled. He also called for an end to high levels of crime and political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.

The province has been rocked by political violence in recent years, culminating in the Moerane Commission of Inquiry which investigated political killings since 2011. The commission made its findings public in September.

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African News Agency (ANA)