King Goodwill Zwelithini arrives for the opening of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature at the Royal Show grounds in Pietermaritzburg yesterday. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/ African News Agency (ANA)
King Goodwill Zwelithini has appealed to any “legitimate” Zulu to each donate R5 or more for the legal battle he intends launching against Parliament if it resolves to repeal the Ingonyama Trust Act.

Speaking at the opening of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, the king said he would stop at nothing in his fight to defend the board from being disbanded. He said the board would put together a strong team of legal experts to assist him in the fight.

The king was addressing thousands of people, including former president Jacob Zuma, when he opened the provincial parliament in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.

“The Ingonyama Trust Board will assemble a team of lawyers and retired judges so that we can take this matter to the Constitutional Court,” said the king.

He said he had warned President Cyril Ramaphosa about the importance of the land to the Zulu nation.

“I told him that to us Zulus, the land is our father and mother because it feeds and accommodates us. It is our blanket because that is where we are buried when we die. The land is the body and soul of the Zulu nation,” said the king.

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The king said he would negotiate with six major banks to open accounts for his people to deposit the money.

“I want only R5, but those who can afford to can donate more. I want to show those who are in power that the government cannot do things without consulting us,” he said.

The king said he would assemble another team of judges to brief communities and civil society in the province about attacks directed at him.

The Ingonyama Trust Act was passed on the eve of the first democratic elections in 1994.

It led to the formation of the board to govern land, which used to belong to the defunct Zulu government, on behalf of the king.

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.

The recommendations have angered traditional leaders in the province, and hostel dwel-lers in Johannesburg and Dur-ban held separate meetings last week to back the king. They claim Motlanthe did not consult with the Zulu leadership before compiling a report that had been handed to Parliament.

The king also issued a veiled threat to the ANC, without mentioning the organisation by name, saying if anything happened to the board there would be consequences during the next year’s general elections.

He said the matter, which is yet to be dealt with by the national assembly, should be finalised before the end of the year.

“The Zulu nation like any other nation has the right to fight for its rights. I will communicate with all political parties about the land issue. I will talk to the political parties before the elections,” he said.

The king said the board, royal family and KwaZulu-Natal House of Traditional Leaders will meet soon to discuss the matter further.

“I will also call a mass meeting of the Zulu headsmen and their amakhosi. An Inkosi who does not attend will not be a real Inkosi of my nation. I will ask MaDube (Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube) to supply me with a list of amakhosi under her payroll so that all of them would attend.

“These steps are just the beginning, because if everything fails I will call a mass meeting of the Zulu nation in and outside the province,” he said.

KZN economic development MEC Sihle Zikalala, who represented Premier Willies Mchunu, said the provincial government was not in support of the move to deprive the king of his land.