The Ingonyama Trust Act was passed by IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s defunct Zululand government days before the first democratic elections in 1994.
After the Zululand government was amalgamated into the democratic government, the act - which led to the creation of Ingonyama Trust Board to govern traditional land in KwaZulu-Natal on behalf of King Goodwill Zwelithini - was adopted by Parliament.
Former president Kgalema Motlanthe’s high-level panel recommended to Parliament to scrap the act because it was unconstitutional.
The matter, which angered the king, Buthelezi, DA leader Mmusi Maimane and traditional leaders in KZN, is currently before Parliament.
Joburg hostel dwellers, who swore allegiance to the king, entered the fray on Sunday, and promised “to make a noise”.
They held a meeting at Mai Mai Hostel, where the chairperson of the izinduna (headmen) in the Joburg hostels, Simphiwe Mhlongo, said he convened the meeting because he wanted dwellers to send a strong message that they would protect “our king’s land from being expropriated”.
“Instead of taking our king’s land, the government should be expropriating land occupied by white farmers and transferring it to the rightful owners, who are our makhosi,” he said.
Mhlongo of KwaMaphumu- lo in the KZN Midlands, said the number of izinduna and amabutho (regiments) at the meeting was “large enough to have their voices heard by the government”.
“As a person who is from a rural area in KZN, I understand that under the Ingonyama, you don’t have to buy land to build a home, unlike what is happening in the city. People don’t pay to live on the king’s land.”
Mhlongo added that the izinduma were not planning a violent upheaval and wanted to conduct peaceful protests by refusing to comply with any act replacing the Ingonyama Act.
“We want peace and not violence. We will fight by refusing to pay money to occupy our king’s land. White-owned farms are on the land that was taken from us, and now our own people in the government who were oppressed like us are taking the little that is left of our land,” said Mhlongo.
At a meeting held by KZN-based izinduna at the Dalton Hotel in Durban last week, a resolution was taken to protect the trust and king’s land.
“Government leaders who frequent the king’s palaces deceive us to think they are cementing relationships with the king, but they are looking for the king’s weakness to strip him of his power,” said Phumazidle Majola.
“Before the end of this month, we will meet with the king to get authority to organise a mass meeting with the izinduna in Gauteng.”
Land reform and rural development portfolio committee chairperson Phumzile Ngwenya-Mabila said they would consult with affected people as soon as Speaker Baleka Mbete formally tables the act in Parliament.