Picture Sibonelo Ngcobo

Durban - The battle between applicants from Jozini and Umnini, in conjunction with some churches in the province, and the Ingonyama Trust Board is set to commence in court this month as the applicants are opposed to Ingonyama Trust and its move to convert permission to occupy certificates to lease agreements.

Thabiso Mbhense, the lawyer representing the applicants, says that some of the applicants have received letters from the lawyers of the Ingonyama Trust pushing for them to pay rent. “Some people, particularly women, now have the land that they occupy reduced because they cannot afford to pay this fee to the traditional authority for large pieces they occupied before for residential purposes,” Mbhense said.

Mbhense said that the rent paid depended on the size of the land an individual occupied.

He said some women were told that they could not sign lease agreements because they were not married, forcing them to have a male partner signing the lease on their behalf.

“You find that your land is signed under another person’s name, either a boyfriend or relative, and it would be easier for that person whose name the land is signed under, to chase the women off her land because it is not under her name,” says Mbhense.

He said some of their clients were churches and they had handed over the the completed version of their court papers to the KwaZulu-Natal Council of Churches, as one of their clients, two weeks ago to go over them.

He said that they would proceed with the court application once the the KZN Council of Churches returns the papers.

“Some churches are affected because they’re also now being forced to sign lease agreements when they had permission to occupy certificates,” Mbhense says.

Daily News